Informing Your Empathy for More Human Designs and Communities

Morten Rand-Hendriksen

When we put empathy in the driver’s seat, we quite literally put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We are not basing our actions on the true experiences of others but rather projecting ourselves onto them: Were I in that situation, this is what I would want. But unless we are, or have been, in the same situation with the same prior experiences, our automatic emotional response can lead us badly astray resulting in solutions that work counter to our intentions: Put too much trust in your empathy, and you may end up making a bad situation worse.

Empathy has an important place in our processes, designs, and interactions: It is the beginning of an exploration that should be part of every project.