With 30 years of experience, Meena has consulted to emphasize the strategic value and positioning of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and applies a credible, structured and transparent approach to integrating human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. This ensures that research activities provide the best service to the organization, and that learning objectives are addressed to maximize potential.
Meena is a founding member of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA, that espouses these research beliefs, while maintaining a utopic work-life balance. She is also a key Lecturer in the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program. Over her 20-year tenure, her capstone qualitative research course has guided now-leading practitioners to integrating meaningful and successful research practices.
She holds an M.S. in Information Resources Management from Syracuse University and a B.Com . in MIS from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Meena is always inspired in her work by her other passions, namely performing as a South-Indian Classical Violinist, pursuing culinary arts through a cooking show, and staying up to date with her two teenager interests!
For more, keep up with Meena on Twitter as @meena_ko.
Leadership By Design 2021
The Cost of Not Conducting Qualitative Research in Organizations
When we fail to include the human story in the designs of our products and services, we fail humans. twig+fish has worked with global customers and we frequently hear the same challenges: no time, budget, or value to qualitative research output. Products suffer when they are not anchored in the human story, and the humans who create and use them struggle even more. Rather than talk about the ROI of conducting qualitative research, twig+fish began to study the cost of not doing it.
Meena Kothandaraman shares the results of this internal study that looks at the costs to organizations who have left their decision-making to sources other than the wisdom and insights gained from qualitative research.
Dear Design Leader – Explanations & Experiences with Leading Designers
Leadership isn’t easy, and finding someone to ask questions to, or to give coaching and advice can sometimes be a challenge. Fear not, design leader, Maria and Helen, along with Meena as guide and expert interjector, will address your burning question about design, leadership, design leadership, and likely a few other things.
UX Camp Winter 2021
Unpacking Context During a Pandemic: Reflections & Tips
Context has always been of importance to unpack and describe when understanding human realities. Context is anything and everything that brings meaning to human realities. Pre-COVID, qualitative researchers readily presented options for studies for both in-context and out-of-context approaches.
With the onset of the pandemic, in-context approaches posed challenges: increased study expense and safety risks to assess. The need to elicit context understanding remains—but without the ability to immerse in it—how do we as researchers understand it? An absence of context understanding can affect a researcher’s interpretation of the human story and reality. This in turn can affect the knowledge applied by a design team.
Meena Kothandaraman of twig+fish will share four observations from recent projects in which participants engaged in a way that revealed more contextual detail. Every project was run remotely—but each time the research team noted approaches that allowed the participant a chance to think of their context and articulate it with more specificity. These approaches are easily applied and will be still be applicable post-pandemic.