Friday, November 17, 2006

Creative Generalist Q&A: Jane Fulton Suri

An interview with IDEO's Chief Creative Officer ...

"In your presentation last month you remarked that observation, intuition, empathy and imagination together make up "the empathic economy". Please elaborate on what you meant by this.

I shared several examples in the talk at BIF-2 that illustrate how observation, intuition, empathy and imagination about customers/end-users/consumers can inspire and inform innovation. This is no longer a very new idea; at least in progressive companies, it's a fairly widely accepted and well-established approach to innovation. When I refer to "the empathic economy" I’m talking about a future possibility - about a huge opportunity for innovation in which a similar level of empathy and imagination might be applied to the many different kinds of people who populate the business ecology of a particular industry, not just customers/end-users/consumers. In an empathic economy the provider/supplier of goods and services would be keen to reach an empathic understanding not just of consumers, but also of many other people within the business network upon whom business success depends: the farmer who grows/gathers the raw material, the processor who creates the basic technology, the distributor who ships it around, the sales-person, the trash collector (think "life-cycle" and interdependent human network).

By calling it the "empathic economy" I'm emphasizing that part of the inspiration and motivation for innovation that comes from creativity sparked by emotional, human, empathic resonance with other people's conditions, not only the more traditional functional analyses of interdependencies that might be more common. As our networks and supporting technology become more sophisticated the interdependence between many different kinds of individuals across the globe becomes more apparent, more accessible and more visible. It seems natural that companies will/can soon have a much broader view of sources and opportunities for innovation in their business than simply around the offer that they make to a consumer."    (Continued via Creative Generalist)    [Usability Resources]


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