Next stop on our trip through Dan
book, A
Whole New Mind
, is empathy.  

Dan writes, “Empathy allows us to see the other side of an argument,
comfort someone in distress, and bite our lip instead of muttering something
snide. Empathy builds self-awareness [and]…
allows us to work together”.

There is an appropriate time for detachment (rules-based decision
making) and an appropriate time for attunement (emotionally-based
considerations – empathy). “And people
who will thrive will be those who can toggle between the two”. 

Empathy enables collaboration, reflection, and the adjustment of our
personal behavior. And, I believe, it’s
key to design. Through empathy we can put ourselves in our
customer’s position and create remarkable products.

Empathy is also a source of differentiation in the marketplace. It can’t be reduced to a list of actions. It’s impossible to automate and difficult to
outsource. And – it’s absolutely
necessary to build and maintain relationships. 

Some of Dan’s ideas for strengthening your empathy “quotient” include:
take an acting class, volunteer somewhere in your community doing something
that causes you to interact with people whose life experiences are different
from your own, or perhaps, get yourself a pack of Ideo: Method Cards.

To quote the IDEO site, “IDEO Method
Cards show 51 of the methods we use to inspire great design and keep
people at the center of our design process

Empathy is all a matter of perspective. Are you able to look at situations from
another’s perspective? Can you not only
see their point but feel it too?

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