Design Thinking: Empathy through Observation, Experience, and Inquiry
Abstract: A principle aspect of design thinking that separates it from other creative problem-solving activities is the element of being human-centered. Designers solve problems for people. In order to solve problems that meet people’s needs the designer needs to develop empathy for the user. This paper documents using the principle of empathy and tools of observation, experience and inquiry to understand human needs. These tools allow a designer to shape information to drive the creation of products and experiences that make human connections through aesthetics, need-finding, or making meaning. The research documents products that failed to understand the human element and products that have been developed successfully using these human-centered design methods. The beginning of this research was to develop a limited number of the simplest but most effective tools for teaching empathy to design students.