Empathize to innovate: Empathy is key to making design thinking pay off.

The full article as featured in Managing Partner can be viewed here.

Empathy is king

Design thinking, not unlike legal services, is all about people.
As David Maister noted, “above all, what I, the client, am looking for is that rare professional who has both technical skill and a sincere desire to be helpful, to work with both me and my problem. The key is empathy – the ability to enter my world and see it through my eyes.”

Empathy is also the key to making design thinking pay off. Opportunities for driving growth and competitive advantage are everywhere – the challenge is knowing where and how to look for them. Design thinking provides a framework for consistently identifying insights and systematically translating them into opportunities for the firm to create value.

The first step in any design-thinking approach is to assume a beginner’s mindset. Set aside any preconceptions about what the client needs or about the solutions that the firm can offer. The aim  of a client conversation shifts from ‘what are they asking for?’ to ‘what are they trying to achieve?’ The same applies to the way business functions like L&D and marketing serve their internal customers.