One way to contextualize thinking is to experience first hand the context of an environment and the processes that take place within them. This is complimented by observation of people with in their contextual environments and interviewing them to get their interpretation of the dynamics at hand.
Ethnographic research encourages the consideraton of the entire system and the entire process, in order to arrive to a “holistic” group of perspectives.
Today some of the most innovative companies use ethnographic research to lead the design and innovation of their products and services.
Here is what an ethnographic research company has to say about this:
“Great design always connects with people. Designers inspire, provoke, validate, entertain and provide utility for people. To truly connect, designers need to have compassion and empathy for their audiences. Designers need to understand the relationship between what they produce and the meaning their product has for others. And they need to observe the people they are designing for in their own environments.” Quoted from Cheskin.com >>
Related in this blog:
The bipolar culture (how either/or logic is used to limit our thought and a diagram of fractal logic networks)