Empathy

I’m truly hoping that empathy is the most difficult step in the process.  What I needed. . . was empathy for what we were trying to do.  It was difficult to get people to participate in the questions we had.  I also felt uncomfortable “probing” for a class project.  We put together a survey and got mixed responses.

What I did observe on a personal trip with my family (extended to 14) to a restaurant was such a variation of experiences, it makes narrowing down the need or satisfaction drivers difficult.  I was immersed with them and had my own set of opinions.  I was perfectly satisfied, but what I noticed was:

  • My son (4) needed bread, etc. and something to draw (as opposed to clanging silverware).
  • My other two kids, needed lots of beverage (after a hot day on the ball field a pitcher of Gatorade would have been right on point).
  • My father in law needed traditional standards (we were at an Italian restaurant).
  • My sister and brother in law needed economy.
  • My mother in law needed a “special”.
  • My mom and “friend” needed less options.
  • My husband and I needed alcohol!
  • We needed more than one waitress.

This event did drive home the point of our research.  How is a server supposed to address multiple needs at one time?

I thought the waitress did a great job; we obviously were not an easy table.  Yet, she kept apologizing.  “For what,” I thought?  She did not feel adequate in her service, but it was not especially her fault.  Hopefully our design solutions could make a server like her feel more confident in her ability to deliver a pleasant dining experience.

We have identified a need at work.  I’m not especially clear yet how we are going to approach it.  I am taking project management in the fall and would love to use those lessons to develop a work flow process to help define the usage and engagement expectations of the rest of the organization as it applies to syndicated data management.  However, before any process is to be applied, it needs to be adopted by senior management or our efforts are DOA.  I’m hoping to use some of the empathy techniques we’ve covered thus far to observe, engage and immerse myself in the current issues and seek solutions from those that will ultimately enable or disable the application.  This, like the empathy stage, should more of a lesson in listening.  I think I currently understand the problem, but if management doesn’t think it’s a problem or doesn’t agree with our potential solution, then our efforts will be lost.  I love the idea of an inspiration board and may go ahead and implement that for our future design, both in the classroom and in the office.