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Why empathy is an economic necessity - The Globe and Mail
TODD HIRSCH

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Aug. 14 2013

The world is full of wonderfully engineered, but poorly designed products – with no eye for how the average person might use it. This highlights a certain quality that isn’t taught in business schools but can make a huge difference for companies developing new products: empathy.

Empathy is the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s far more than just being a nice person. If properly developed, empathy can give you and your company a distinct competitive edge. Negotiating a contract, dealing with workplace conflicts, coming up with a marketing campaign, or dreaming up the next must-have consumer gadget all require the ability to see the world through eyes that aren’t your own.

Sadly, managers and human resource departments too often neglect the interpersonal skills that are so essential to achieving results. Along with other aptitudes such as story-telling and creativity, empathy is underappreciated by many in the corporate board room. The fact that we even call them “soft” skills implies that they’re less important....The ability to see the world through the eyes of others is an economic imperative. If empathy were given the attention it deserves, companies would find new ways to please their customers. Innovators would dream up systems that save time and money. Conflicts would be resolved more easily. And maybe – just maybe – engineers would design products that are simple to use.
empathy  product_development  design  skills  storytelling  Todd_Hirsch  UX  usability  competitive_advantage  under_appreciated  people_skills  new_products  interpersonal_interactions  soft_skills  delighting_customers  product_design  economic_imperatives  must-have_experience 
august 2013 by jerryking
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