#DEEPdt Don’t Start With Empathy…

What a way to draw your attention, right?  “Don’t start with empathy.”  If you know me at all via RL, SM, or hearsay, then you know that for me design thinking is all about empathy and the fun, creative “problem solving” actions come a distant 2nd.  

Well, way back in the spring of 2010 when I was crafting a riff off of d.School’s design thinking process (their old process ) to meet the needs of ALL designers (young and old), I was given some interesting & very eye opening advice… 

The advice:  Don’t start with empathy.  It is too touchy, feely.  Parents will not like it to be about feelings. It’s not academic enough…  

Even though I completely disagree with this advice, I appreciated it because it pushed me to coin the word DEEP into Discover. Empathize. Experiment. Produce.  I have written posts before around why I love the Discover aspect of DEEPdt.  I truly believe ALL design thinking challenges have a discover point but some are not explicit about it. You can read more about this HERE 

BACK TO THE POINT…

Don’t start with empathy…  If we are not starting with empathy in EVERYTHING we do as educators, I wonder where we are starting?  If we are not thinking about our end users (students, parents, teachers, etc) through the lens of empathy when it comes to the “doing” of school, what lens are we using? If we are not leading with empathy, what kind of leaders are we being? Creating? 

And, I guess finally… If we are afraid or possibly too arrogant to lead and act with empathy openly, what are we hiding?