Meena Kothandaraman Zarla Ludin
Instructors: Meena Kothandaraman & Zarla Ludin (twig+fish)

Saturday, 9 November, 1–4:00pm
College Building Room 442, 2 College Street—map
25 participants, fee: $100


It’s not enough to hire a great researcher: organizations need the capacity to develop and learn from strategic, credible research. Participants in this tutorial will learn and practice a tool for cultivating that capacity that can be used with stakeholders, teams, or clients.

A central challenge for organizations is the inchoate nature of addressing “unknowns.” Too often, they misalign questions with objectives, confuse organizational agendas with research questions, lead with method, use inappropriate metrics of success, over-simplify complex human dynamics, and set unrealistic expectations for data. The NCredible Framework meets the challenge by approaching the research process as an organizational strategy. It is a simple but flexible process for aligning stakeholders around well-defined questions, defining research scope, designing credible studies, and learning from findings.

Participants in this tutorial will learn to:

  • identify assumptions, agendas, and incomplete questions that emerge when organizations address “unknowns”;
  • integrate research into other organizational processes by creating a learning roadmap;
  • reveal organizational research habits and patterns that no longer service their organization;
  • communicate with stakeholders about the actual work and effort that is required to address research questions;
  • design studies that will credibly address research questions and adapt to business constraints.



Meena Kothandaraman has over 25 years experience in consulting that emphasizes the strategic value of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and applies a credible and structured approach to integrating human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. Qualitative research serves as a key vehicle to bringing human stories into a business, and additionally serves as a foundation for internal discussions and directions about product design. Her experience spans multiple verticals, with companies who believe in the value of qualitative research. 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. Apart from her core consulting practice, she has been a key contributor and Lecturer at the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program in her 17 year tenure. Meena teaches the capstone qualitative research course.  She holds an M.S. in Information Resources Management from Syracuse University and a B.Com. in MIS from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Zarla Ludin is the co-founder of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA. Bringing an anthropological perspective to every project, Zarla is passionate about helping people build stronger connections with each other. Zarla’s expertise lies in her ability to help people reveal, reflect, and describe the parts of life everyone takes for granted. Zarla has a knack for helping teams access their natural curiosity and bring a more empathic lens into their work. Prior to twig+fish, Zarla was Director of Insights at Motivate Design and a Senior Researcher for Essential. Her many years in consulting have given her the insight into team dynamics that make twig+fish a unique form of human-centered consulting. Zarla has worked for design, marketing, engineering, and brand teams in a number of domains including civic services, financial, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and engineered products. Zarla has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. Outside of work, Zarla is a certified yoga instructor and avid sea glass hunter! Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

How to Register

Tutorials are optional sessions open to all EPIC2019 attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. No on-site registration. To add a Tutorial to your EPIC2019 agenda, log into your EPIC account and modify your conference registration. Questions?

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