Empathy: A Critical Capability | Developing Empathy

What can we do to help ourselves and others develop empathy?

  • Challenge ourselves to have a conversation every day with a stranger—ideally someone with a different background.
  • Ask ourselves and others probing questions: “Why did I/you approach the problem in that particular way?”
  • Develop mindfulness so that we are more attuned to what is happening in the moment.
  • Open up to others so they open up to us and we can see them more clearly (fight the fear of vulnerability).
  • Develop emotional self-awareness. I have heard of mood apps that will ping you randomly during the day so you can record and reflect on your emotions.
  • Take an acting class to help get into the heads of different characters.
  • Buy a set of IDEO method cards. IDEO is a design company that conceived of a deck of cards to be used by researchers, designers, and engineers on their teams. They help team members evaluate and select the empathic research methods to best inform specific design challenges.


Empathy is the ability to comprehend and 

be respectful of the inner state/experience

of others, and we need to highlight it

more in our training sessions.