Monday, 3 February 2014

re:Design Thinking - Empathy

I've been thinking about personal empathy a lot lately... Try this lovely RSA short of Brené Brown for a considered summary of its significance.

While I was building my Key Stage 3 Creative Media course, Design Thinking seemed to be to most coherent way of structuring the learning to support creativity. Influenced by Ewan MacIntosh I used  the term Immersion for the opening phase.  But while I was washing up today I remembered that empathy is the term most commonly used to describe beginning stage for design thinking:

As a design thinker, the problems you are trying to solve are rarely your own—they are those of
a particular group of people; in order to design for them, you must gain empathy for who they
are and what is important to them. dschool, Stanford

I've started redesigning my online resources, trying to "add a bit of digital glue to Digital Glue" (to quote myself) to employ some joined-up thinking. My aim is make all my online materials work better for people. To make it easy to access things I've made, so that they could perhaps better help people learning or to helping others to learn. I've also been looking hard at my presentation of ideas - far be it from a creative media 'believer' not to believe that presentation matters. I've started doing some of the things that have occurred to me - have a look at the top of my sidebar or read this previous post about logos. There's plenty more to be done, but can I be sure it's useful?

If you are designing for a known group of people, finding out what they think is relatively easy - you talk to them. But what if your users are unknown to you, or most of your visitors arrive from Google? Over the years I've posed questions to encourage a response from readers. Generally speaking, though, I have few comments. A wise friend once said that the best way to get responses is to comment on other blogs. Undoubtedly this is true. Like the lady says : empathy is connection. I'm planning to get out more.

But I'm going to launch a bit of a publicity campaign to get people to come and see - and comment. Twitter and Linkedin are the main tools of choice, as my biggest networks are there. But I'm embedding a Google Form below, for those who prefer not to comment, but don't mind clicking a few radio buttons. All I need are a few critical responses.

What do you think?