Apple knows how to build products that people love. In order to accomplish that, they use empathy to learn a lot about their users. They don’t always take the ideas or solutions of their customers or users, but they do listen intently to the problems being described. There is a difference between implementing the solutions suggested and deeply understanding the problems being described. Knowing the problems and the questions that need answering is the start of a design process that can lead to compelling solutions.
Ken Kocienda describes empathy as “Trying to see the world from other people’s perspectives and creating work that fits into their lives and adapts to their needs”. Today, it’s common to see techniques like this being used in start-ups and in organizations who are leaders in product development, but it’s still quite rare to see these techniques when we consider organizational change or other enterprise endeavors.
Organizational change requires a deep understanding of the problems our employees, teams and suppliers have. We shouldn’t stop our development process until we have solved the problems. Solving these will equip our own people to better serve customers.
Does your development process focus on developing and delivering solutions or deeply understanding and designing ways to solve problems?