WHAT is it?
Design thinking is
a user-centered design process, and the empathy that comes from
observing users enables design thinkers to uncover deep and meaningful
needs (both overt & latent). Empathy, by definition, is the
intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the
feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.
Empathy gaining is
often described as 'needfinding' in that you are discovering people's
explicit and implicit needs so that you can meet those needs through
design. A need is a physical, psychological or cultural requirement of
an individual or group that is missing or not met through existing
A designer 'needfinds' or works to understand a
user's experience by learning about their lives. Empathy gaining and
needfinding may be broken down into three discrete methods:
goal of the empathy mode is to discover gaps in between what people do
and what people say they do. These gaps are the design opportunities.
WHY do we teach it?
- To uncover needs that people have which they may or may not be aware of
- To guide our innovation efforts
- To identify someone to design for
- To discover the emotions that guide behaviors
The goal of the empathy mode is the following:
- Stories about people, their actions and their motivations
- Artifacts (photos, drawings, quotes) that capture people, the environment, maps of movement through a space, etc.
- Deep insights revealed through these stories and artifacts
HOW do we teach it?
on the depth that you want to get to, there are multiple activities,
projects, lectures and stories to deploy when teaching and/or
introducing empathy. The Wallet Project and Oral Hygiene Project are
two good short introductions to the importance of human-centered
A good slidedeck introduction for Empathy is found here. Check out the notes section for explanations behind each slide.
RELATED TO (Tags):
Need finding, Needfinding, Engage, Immerse, Observe, Instant Expert,
Intercepts, 5 Why's, Camera Studies, Extreme Users, History Interview,