One of the core principles of Design Thinking is empathy towards other people’s way of work. We cannot design something for someone if we don’t truly understand how they use it in their lives.
This is not the place to “teach” them how to use it properly. This is the time when we alter our own designs, our own thinking, to fit their style, their way of thinking, and their desires.
We practice empathy tools.
We ask questions that come from others’ experiences.
We look at the world through their eyes.
Literally. Not figuratively.
We don’t assume that we know what they want. We might not even ask them what they want. We take the effort to sit in their chair, stand in their corner, put ourselves in their shoes, and experience what they experience.
These tools can be used on demand, when the need requires them. But your skill in being empathetic, in becoming a compassionate person, is something you can practice every single day.
I was reminded recently of a beautiful poem by Miller Williams, “Compassion”
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it.
What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”