Jeffrey Greger, UX Researcher Varo Money Inc.: from architecture to (industrial) design to applied anthropology & back again – The Human Show Podcast 57






Jeffrey Greger, UX Researcher at banking startup Varo Money, has a background in both design and anthropology with a BA in Industrial Design and recently completing an MA in Applied Anthropology at San Jose State University. His thesis research explored the challenges, opportunities, and ethical issues design professionals encounter when developing banking services with low-income communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. As a graduate student, he also partnered with anthropologists at the Nissan Research Center to explore the effects autonomous vehicles could have on urban streetscapes and equitable community building in San Jose. Before moving into research, Jeff built everything from Bluetooth speakers to medical devices as an industrial and UX designer with a handful of Silicon Valley consultancies. 

In today’s episode we talk to Jeff about his experience going through an applied anthropology program coming from an industrial design background; his graduate thesis on observing design and research practices; hybridity of design & anthropology practices and how he sees it impacting theory and practice; using design as a research tool – prototyping and co-design as forms of research; positionality; the tensions between design and anthropology particularly around the concept of intervention; lastly he shares his advice for others transitioning into the applied anthropology space.


Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast here:



Mentioned in Podcast:

M.A. Applied Anthropology program, San Jose State:

Dr. Melissa Cefkin, Centre for Automotive Research Nissan:

A Bay Area professional group that hosts monthly breakfasts to discuss issues pertinent to ethnographers in industry:

Networking group in The Netherlands for professional ethnographers:

Society for Applied Anthropology:

Society for Economic Anthropology:

Fair Money, Research Collective:

Anthrodesign – The listserv:  


Jeff’s work:

Doing Good is Hard: Ethics, Activism, and Social Impact Design as Seen from the Grassroots Perspective:

Design Portfolio:


Social media and other links:


Twitter: @jeff_greger 

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