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Ben Jacobson

Partner, Conifer Research

Ben Jacobson

Ben Jacobson teaches Behavioral Observation and other courses as an Adjunct Faculty member at the Institute of Design (ID). He has more than 20 years of consulting experience helping clients develop innovative products, services, and business models from a user-centered perspective. Ben’s strengths lie in developing new approaches to gathering critical insights about everyday user behaviors and working with interdisciplinary teams to invent better user experiences and successful corporate strategies.

He has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences and a master’s in social sciences from the University of Chicago, as well as a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Industry Experience

Ben founded Conifer Research in 2001 with a mission to produce evergreen research systems and knowledge bases that leverage the enormous potential of ethnographic research. Conifer specializes in delivering new insights in response to tough challenges, framing research questions and customizing data collection efforts to provide the breadth and depth needed to generate meaningful insights.

The company’s team of independent thinkers come from a variety of disciplines including anthropology, sociology, psychology, design, strategy, journalism and the fine arts. Their work includes research planning, fieldwork, data analysis, writing, information modeling, video production, facilitation, and prototyping. Ultimately, Conifer Research delivers user insights that shape the development of new strategies, products, services, and messages.


Ben’s articles include “Why Design Research?” (2019).