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The role of empathy in the design of products and services

Peter Timmer of Blue Latitude Health talks through what it means to design with empathy for the customer, and why it produces better products and services.
When you design a product that truly addresses an unmet need, that product will establish an emotional connection with the user, from which engagement becomes real.

How might you gain the insight that will uncover the hierarchy of unmet customer needs, from which you will choose the one your product will address?  

One answer to this question is the development of an empathetic mindset, a mindset that seeks a detailed understanding of the customer and what they feel and think, when doing things at work – things where unmet needs arise. With such a mindset you will start to use empathy in design.

How do you start to develop such an empathetic mindset?

In this article, Customer Experience Consultant Peter Timmer talks through what it means to design with empathy for the customer, and why it produces better products and services for pharma and healthcare.


Build a map of the customers’ environment – to better understand their experience

Empathy requires deep research with real people in their natural environments. It is deep because it will not be market research as a commodity –

"Nurse, what is your greatest frustration during therapy administration in the clinic?"
Suitable research will be grounded in getting as close to reality as possible:
  • Spending a period of time observing life in the clinic
  • Actively working with healthcare professionals (HCPs) to simulate the things which cannot be observed, maybe for reasons of confidentiality
  • Talking through scenario-based stories, stories built around models and sketches of the clinic with actors in specific places at particular times.

These are provocative methods, methods that generate data about the movements, thoughts, reasoning and emotions of the customer; methods that generate data – the value of which is unknown when a concept brief is written. Such data will help a design team know the customer better, and enable designers make better informed design decisions.

Building the map is foundational for the identification of opportunity that leads to the creation of products and services that have wider commercial value.




Download the full article from Blue Latitude Health

31st May 2016

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Blue Latitude Health

+44 203 328 1840

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Blue Latitude Health (UK)
140 Aldersgate Street
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EC1A 4HY
United Kingdom

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