These one-to-one empathy sessions support; well-being, healing, practicing to be a better listener and supporting you in creating empathic environments in your relationships, family, school, work, communities and beyond.
Becoming a first time parent last year has been a fundamentally life changing experience. I adapted well to the lack of sleep and the change in lifestyle; coping well with the changes I think because we had such a rough start.
What I’ve come to believe is that empathy is the key to our future. Here are four reason why I think this is true:
1. Letting go empowers you to be more empathetic...
2. Explaining yourself doesn’t lead to empathy...
3. Busyness drains our energy and removes our ability to empathize...
When building a great product or service, you need to build a user-centric ecosystem of processes and people. It’s not a change you can effect in a couple of days, however some aspects of it can be implemented relatively quickly. The first step is gradual investment in understanding and designing for your customer. Once you start applying user-centered research methods into your product design process, all of the stakeholders will sure see the benefits.
They are not just tangible, quantitative results, but can help to build you resonance with your audience, empathy that so many companies are lacking.
In this article we highlighted the most popular user research methods and aim to prove the usefulness of using them in teams of any size. Relationships with the customers and in-depth understanding of their needs are becoming the competitive advantage of many successful companies.
In a 2011 study for Social Psychological & Personality Science Journal, test subjects were asked to view a series of faces and then describe what emotion they saw in each face. The idea was to test their ability to imagine what another human is feeling – the characteristic we call empathy.
Although results naturally varied from person to person, most people showed good skill at correctly identifying the facial expression they saw.
The interesting part came when analyzing the video recording of each user test. High-speed cameras revealed that, before answering, each test user momentarily copied the expression they saw in the photo. These so-called ‘microexpressions‘ were completely involuntary, unconscious and often barely perceptible to the naked eye, but seemed to help the subject make sense what they were seeing. The obvious question: what would happen if we blocked these microexpressions?
Does empathy help us to be moral? The author argues that empathy is often instrumental to meeting the demands of morality as defined by various ethical theories. This multi-faceted work links psychological research on empathy with ethical theory and contemporary trends in moral education.
Adding fuel to this debate is a new study that found that readers of literary fiction — but not commercial fiction — have a better understanding of other people’s emotions.
The study, which was published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, made 2,000 people do a “Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test” where they looked at photos of actors displaying different feelings and tried to pick the right emotion.
The participants were also asked to say which authors they recognized from a list of names that included literary authors like Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie as well as commercial authors like Tom Clancy and Stephen King. The result was clear:
Results indicate that exposure to literary but not genre fiction positively predicts performance on a test of theory of mind, even when accounting for demographic variables including age, gender, educational attainment, undergraduate major.
How is empathy manifested physiologically? In the 90s, scientists conducting an experiment involving primates noticed an interesting phenomenon, later defined as a result of mirror neuron activity.
Quick description: Monkey is wired to a device. Scientists are observing the firing of certain neurons in its brain while the monkey grabs a banana. At lunchtime, a hungry scientist grabs a banana in sight of the monkey. The device shows that same neurons that fired when the monkey was reaching for the banana fire when the monkey observes the experimenter reaching for the banana.
A study has revealed that worrying about your kids is bad for your health. The stress causes your immune system to drop, and parents are more likely to get sick. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, and Jimmy Dore hosts of The Young Turks discuss.
“Kids with empathetic parents have well-documented advantages: less depression, less aggression, more empathy themselves. Parents also report better self-esteem when they make the effort to understand their children’s feelings.
A team from Northwestern University has examined the hidden costs of parental empathy. They found that while the children of empathetic parents are better off physically and emotionally, the parents’ cells reveal chronic, low-grade inflammation. When their children suffer psychologically, empathetic parents’ immune systems take a hit.”
Traveling and interacting with people of other ethnicity introduce children to socioeconomic diversity and cultivate their curiosity for the world. Cross-cultural travel can make kids recognize that there's more to life than their egocentric view of the world.
One of the best ways to turn your children into empathetic adults is to expose them to other cultures by traveling. Experts believe that cross-cultural experiences can boost people's sense of empathy, compassion, creativity, and connection that he/she can bring into adulthood.
Daniel Siegel M.D. is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute. His training is in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. Dan is the author of many books on parenting, child development, Mindsight, etc.
Donald Trump owns the fatal political and business flaw. Trump has a big problem. In his 2016 run for Presidency, Trump daily flashes his grand flaw, the one that will keep him out of the White House: a lack of empathy.
He is incapable of jumping inside the minds of voters to read their needs and connect with them emotionally and empathically.
Empathy is the capacity to get into the minds of others’ thoughts and feelings. In a powerful nation, success depends on caring for others, and Trump just doesn’t. He can’t get beyond himself.
SAP has announced a new OpenSAP course around the topic of design called “Basics of Design.” This is not a technical class in nature, but it hits home on what I think is the most important part of designing interfaces for end users. What is that part you ask? Empathy!
There are lots of buzz words that float around the SAP Design Thinking space, however empathy should not be considered one of them.
To me one of the hardest and most interesting parts of leading a Design Thinking session is the empathy/observation phases.
The empathy/observation phases can be very difficult for a design thinking session leader to get through, as it can go many directions. A few examples of the difficulties that arise during this phase can be:
Everybody is talking about empathy. Empathy in everyday life; empathy in work; empathy in design. The latter is fast becoming a buzzword, often encapsulating any activity that makes you think about your users.
As UX specialists, we are all about understanding our clients’ target audience, but it’s so much more than simply developing a UX journey that answers a fundamental need. The key is to be able to connect with a user on a deeper level – how do they think? How do they approach problem-solving? In the context of design, empathy isn’t necessarily feeling how people feel or stepping into their shoes to adopt their lifestyle and everything that comes with it. Empathy in design is taking the time to carry out user research, absorbing it into your thinking to guide your decision-making processes. (Source)
It’s not easy to make sure that you actually empathise – this model by Seung Chan Lim can help you understand how empathy works – it’s not something you have or don’t have, it’s a process.
At Sub Rosa, a Manhattan-based strategy and design studio, enabling employees to escape their biases and develop a more empathic form of reasoning is vital to the agency's core philosophy and daily practice. Not only have they launched a successful podcast on the topic, they've also made empathy an integral part of their office's culture.
Michael Ventura, Sub Rosa's founder and CEO, recognized a deficit in the way empathy was discussed and practiced in agency culture.
"So many of the articles that we read and see out in the world are very theoretical when they talk about empathy," Ventura said. "It sounds very squishy. It sounds very loose, sometimes a little hippy-dippy. We really wanted to think about how empathy can be practically applied, and what is the process that would take."
Like going to the gym, you can workout to develop your empathy muscles (assuming you’re not a clinical psychopath). It’s harder than you might think; being aware of yourself, listening to what is being said and reflecting on that in real time can be pretty exhausting. The good news is that with a little practice it becomes easier.
A few tips to start with:
Ask open questions: If you want to understand someone else’s perspective, you need to give them the opportunity to explain it to you. “Why is that?”, “How did you?”, “What did you think?” open them up to more than one word responses.
Listen to what they tell you: So many people (myself included sometimes) forget to do this. If you feel yourself drifting away then trying summarising what they just told you: “Just to make sure I understand you correctly…” or maybe something less formal helps cement your understanding, check that it’s valid and it reassures them that you’re still listening.
Have you taken the time to assess the level of empathy in your organization? Perhaps you are struggling to understand exactly what it means to be empathetic, or maybe you assume empathy is for the weak?
All the vagueness or misconceptions surrounding the importance of empathy should be clarified in order to truly see how your organization can benefit.
In this 30 minute Webcast Replay you will learn:
What empathy is and what it isn’t
A 5 point scale for assessing your own empathy level
My gut tells me that while we can try, pure empathy is unlikely, in design and in management. So, we came up with a modification: Problempathy™.
Where empathy is about putting yourself in the user’s shoes, Problempathy™ is about putting yourself in the problem’s shoes; e.g., when we are redesigning an app, we take on the perspective of the app. Problem statements now sound like this: “I wish I could do more, but my designer forgot a feature that would have really helped the user,” or “I’m embarrassed I keep crashing.”
For employees, we use Problempathy™ to look at our scoping process from a proposal’s perspective rather than a client’s. Or, when we revamped our org chart, we looked at the problem from the chart’s perspective. As a result, we ended up with something radical and different in the form of intersecting circles rather than a traditional hierarchical organization chart.
We talk with author Indi Young about using practical empathy to make better decisions, improve product design strategies, and collaborate more successfully.
What can Udacity students do to increase their ability to practice practical empathy?
Every chance you get—every day—practice listening. Practice noticing what your reactions are to what people are saying, and giving them a chance to actually describe their perspective.
Practice reflecting their perspective so you can encourage them to go deeper. When talking to someone about something that maybe you don’t really believe in, completely suspend that disbelief and launch into the other person’s world. Reflect what they are saying so they feel confident saying back to you the deeper and deeper things…that’s practice.
When introducing Design Thinking, elementary school teachers often worry that younger students cannot truly engage in empathy - the first step in the process - because they lack the initial experiences.
Julie Colantoni, a first-grade teacher in Medfield, MA, raised this concern during a Design Thinking introduction in an EdTechTeacher workshop. However, a few days later, when faced with a "bathroom challenge," she decided to trust the process.
First, Julie presented to her students that a problem existed in the school's bathrooms. Though guided, the students began to engage in empathy.
Why might this be a problem?
Who does this problem impact?
What could we, as first graders, do to fix this problem?
With those prompts, her students dove into the Design Thinking process. They came to their own realization that their actions impacted others and that this issue caused extra work for the school custodian. In essence, they defined the problem for themselves.
As much as everybody would love to have a parent who empathizes with you in any given situation, there are growing evidence suggesting that being an empathetic parent may be bad for the health. Apparently, being a good mom and dad can have unhealthy side effects on one or both the parents.
A research team from the Northwestern University found that there is a direct connection between parental empathy and chronic, low-grade cellular inflammation, as well as increased levels of stress hormone production. The team explained that while children are showered with advantages every time they face difficult situation, parents who empathize and relate to their concerns and hardships can have major health effects over time,refinery29 reports
1) EMPATHY to truly CARE about people’s needs? Caring about people’s needs requires empathy. When Donald Trump says, “I don’t like losers,” it doesn’t show empathy for people who may have lost their jobs, their homes, their health or even worse, a loved one, as was the case of the Khan family. (Empathy for Caring = )
Rather than trying to use empathy as a shallow marketing tactic, empathy should become a deeper, more transformational form of compassion:1 authentic empathy can actually make a difference in people’s lives.
As an example of this principle at work, the conception and promotion of number of useful inventions can be traced back to creative people who have attempted to understand and assist the disabled. Inventions such as the bendy straw, the telephone, the typewriter and icon-based keyboards have all become popular because the inventors tried to help disabled people they knew, and then the marketing people picked up on the broader possibilities.
‘In empathising with others, we create things that we might never have created for ourselves,’1 says a Co.Design article on the subject. ‘We see past the specifics of what we know, to experiences that might actually be universal.’
Which makes authentic empathy a powerful tool for positive change.
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