Empathy on the Edge
Scaling and sustaining a human-centered approach in the evolving practice of design
Katja Battarbee, Jane Fulton Suri, and Suzanne Gibbs Howard
January 9, 2014
Remarkable things can happen when empathy for others plays a key role in problem-solving. In today’s global marketplace, companies are being asked to design for increasingly diverse users, cultures, and environments. These design challenges can be so systemic and wickedly complex, the task of aligning all of a project’s stakeholders can seem impossible. But it’s not.
Design empathy is an approach that draws upon people’s real-world experiences to address modern challenges. When companies allow a deep emotional understanding of people’s needs to inspire them—and transform their work, their teams, and even their organization at large—they unlock the creative capacity for innovation.
In this essay, we’ll explore how design empathy works, its value to businesses, and some ways in which it can be used to effect positive change. We’ll discuss the need for scaling and sustaining design empathy, so that its benefits can reach more people and have long-term positive impact throughout organizations. And we’ll offer stories from the edges of our own empathic design practice. Our goal is to inspire other designers and innovators to share their practices and to expand the conversation about empathy to include the business community-at-large.
We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.
A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]
Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]
Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015 What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]
Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]
Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.