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Design Thinking: Empathy as a Superpower

Caleb Uzuegbunam
November 02, 2019

Design Thinking: Empathy as a Superpower

True innovation is achieved through good design thinking. Building products, platforms, and services for users requires empathy at the core of the process. In this session, we look at what this all means and the benefits that individuals and businesses can reap through empathetic design.

Caleb Uzuegbunam

November 02, 2019

Other Decks in Design


  1. First of all; Introduction. Caleb (@AbstractOnion) Director of Design at

    Semicolon and first-class roasted yam fanatic.
  2. What Design Thinking definitely is NOT Some poster taken from

    Pinterest. Some “over- ambitious” interface design
  3. A way of thinking and working as well as a

    collection of methods. DESIGN THINKING IS:
  4. An iterative process in which we seek to understand the

    user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. DESIGN THINKING IS:
  5. • The Design Thinking process happens in phases (or steps).

    • Various institutions have defined the phases in many ways.
  6. A brief breakdown Understand Phase This is where we frame

    the design challenge, do a lot of desk research, and get our facts right by reviewing our assumptions and biases.
  7. A brief breakdown Observe Phase In this phase, we engage

    with humans at the center of the design process. We aim to capture insights about these people, through interviews, immersion sessions, and guerrilla techniques amongst others. Above all, we aim to build empathy.
  8. A brief breakdown Define Point of View Phase In this

    phase, we analyze ALL the information collected thus far and drill for gold. We aim to extract quality insights and develop a more a refined problem statement or goal.
  9. A brief breakdown Ideate Phase We generate innovative ideas to

    address the problem statement. We start with a wide range of innovative ideas, then evaluate them and select the most creative, feasible or appropriate.
  10. A brief breakdown Prototype Phase In this phase, we create

    tangible artefacts that can be used to test and refine ideas. It can be a digital prototype made with Figma or Invision. It can also be physical prototypes crafted with cardboard, Legos and glue.
  11. A brief breakdown Test Phase Through a planned testing process,

    we discover what works, what doesn’t, and capture actionable recommendations through feedback loops with our users.
  12. • Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what

    another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes. • Empathy is feeling by relation. • Empathy is understanding not pity. Feeling by relation
  13. • Human Centered Design (HCD) is a mindset to problem-solving

    that makes the user (or human) the major determinant in the innovative process. • If Design Thinking is the bowl of salad, then HCD is the mayonnaise that enhances the flavor and improves the mix. The Human-Centeredness of Things
  14. • The Piggyvest story • Apple and its globally loved

    products • Melinda Gates Foundation and tackling tough problems Using Empathy to Drive Growth.
  15. “But bros, all this ones na okoto meow kututu meow

    skrrr tbh” Maybe, but please stay with me…
  16. The UX Fund • In 2006, partners Teehan and Lax

    decided to invest $5,000 in 10 “design-forward” companies. • Including Apple, Blackberry, Netflix, Yahoo!, Google, Nike et al. • Their hypothesis? That companies focused on delivering great customer experiences, through empathy, would have a positive uptick in their stock market valuations over time.
  17. The UX Fund: 10+ Years Later • Netflix has seen

    a 3000%+ valuation, and has continued to innovate in what they consider to be the best experiences for its users/customers. • Blackberry lost its focus, and was kicked out of the same market it was a leader in, losing more than 200% of its market value since then. • Apple went on to release more amazing products, and building strong customer loyalty that saw it become the world’s first $1trillion company.
  18. The McKinsey Design Index • McKinsey, in an article on

    the Business Value of Design, claims to have effectively created a framework to assess companies for what they called the MDI. • High MDI means great investment in delivering great customer experiences with empathy existing at executive level. • They found that there was a consistent correlation between business performance and high MDI scores.
  19. The Distinction • Disruption is different from Obsolescence. • Disruption

    has been a buzzword for so long, but it has held its own. • To disrupt is to do things differently in a stagnated industry. To do things more cheaply, more efficiently or more transparently. • Understanding the problem and empathizing with the users will help you bring about disruption.
  20. It is one thing to disrupt an industry or product

    or platform. It is another thing to completely obsolete. To render entirely useless whole ecosystems by the sheer whims of raw innovation. BUT:
  21. The Wrong Problem Paradox • Sometimes, we think we know

    what the problem is but we don’t. • We are prone to tackling the most apparent problems. • Sometimes, that is just good enough to cause disruption. • But most times, greatness is achieved by seeing what no one else sees. • You need to connect so deeply with your users that you “anticipate” their needs, wants, desires, fears and potential pain points.
  22. The Merits of Root Cause Analysis • The “5 Whys”

    framework of Sakichi Toyota. • Drilling deeper into the problem will help you see the diamonds in the rough and capitalize on them to deliver great experiences and solutions to the people around you. • Solving the first-principle problems is where real value is. • It creates entirely new industries, markets and ecosystems.
  23. Your Users are People Too. • It is very easy

    to get lost in the numbers and equate users to the flashing digits on our screens. • But in fact, users are real people with real lives. They feel emotions and go through a lot of things every day. • Knowing this, maybe we all can design and develop solutions that show empathy for all use cases. For inclusion and accessibility.