“Practitioners of the design discipline use the idea of empathy as a key driver for their research; social marketing research should do the same. Brown (2009) identifies connecting with people as the most important distinction between academic thinking and design thinking. Indeed, many design research techniques are crafted to put designers in front of, and more important alongside of, people whose lives they hope to improve in some way.
Such empathetically directed techniques, in contrast to data-driven ones, can help to uncover both the needs people have that they may not be aware of and the emotions that guide their behaviors.
From: Lefebvre, R.C