Michael Leube, Ph.D.

Design Anthropologist

Michael Leube is a design anthropologist that will help you see your business ideas through the lens of behavioural sciences.

A revolution of transparent, inclusive and sustainable product-service systems is gaining momentum. Demand by end-users, governmental policy and dwindling raw resources make the shift towards a Circular Economy inevitable. 

I can help your business be part of the huge potential such a change implies.


On the web

Applied Anthropology

In the corporate world, the focus often lies on final products or services instead of their use. Qualitative research methods can unlock  why and how people are users. Since behaviour can only be contextual, observations need to always be on users of products and services in a specific setting and moment.

Whether through classical participant observation and interviewing techniques, cultural probes or UX design research, the anthropological lens sees it how it is. The vast scientific evidence can predict how it can be better. 

Recent Practice

Problem: Finding a healthier and more sustainable way for clients of McDonalds to enjoy take-away drinks without using PE-coated, single-use cups and plastic straws, both of which are being outlawed.

Solution: McDonalds/ Cocacola clients must be elevated to ambassadors of health and sustainability. A reusable, loyalty -based system will elevate the self esteem of consumers and help the planet.

Role: During the input, brainstorming and ideation phases, I addressed the archaic human custom of transporting food and drink and the addiction potential related to large amounts of sugar.


Problem: How do you attract the notoriously transient and free-thinking Millennials to buy insurance?

Solution: Rather than conceiving insurance as springing from a worrying, pessimistic mindset, it must be positioned as an enabler of  free and adventurous lifestyles in a rapidly changing world.

Role: The majority of my student body falls into this generation and thus, as a researcher I was able to comprise an extensive assessment.



Problem: Turning an unattractive, unused park in Vienna into an enjoyable space for people to recharge in the middle of a city.

Solution: As expressed by E.O. Wilson´s concept of biophilia, all humans have an innate sense of belonging to and longing for nature. Evolutionary psychology suggests that universally humans have a preference for the features of the African savannah, the place of origin of modern humans. Together with designer Rudolf Greger we completely overhauled the park.

Role: I provided the theoretical foundation from the anthropological sciences and acted as a sparring partner throughout the project.

Design Schools

Problem: How to assure that Bachelor and Master students of design conduct sound research techniques and design processes to design product-service  systems that are user friendly, sustainable and profitable?

Solution: Student projects must be accompanied by the anthropological sciences throughout the design process and all the cycles of iteration. They must be freed of the pressures to find marketing-driven innovations.

Role: Mentoring students throughout the design process.

Recent Projects

Combining the human sciences with creativity means to literally evolve the future. Recent projects gave me the opportunity to work with designers, artists and scientists from all over the world. The common denominators were always human and social sustainability. 

World Exposition: 500 Years Reformation

Barco anthropology lens

TOPIA: Speculative Design Lab

Circular Design Conference

Put on the Lens of Anthropology!


Write me  a short message describing your ideas and I am sure we can collaborate!

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