Our fifth word, empathy, has ties to the first three sessions this morning and gets an explanation point by Gareth Schweitzer of Kelton. The proper definition is: Sharing the feelings of someone else. Defined by Gareth as "putting yourself in someone's shoes." It is a learned behavior by practice, not necessarily by reading about it. Funny and slightly sad, the word is relatively new and popular in our lexicon as you see in the chart below.
The greatest value in the word Empathy is when we seek and have a greater understanding of other human beings. Gareth went on to say, "if a culture has a lack of empathy, we have a big issue." People with no empathy go by another clinical name: psychopath.
Let's look closer at this word and put one of the morning speakers through the empathy filter to see what else rises to the top.
Eric Quint, Chief Design Officer at 3M spoke on a number of subjects relating to the 3M culture and their need to embed design principles into the organization.
Here are some of the points he made.
Define design thinking.
People-centric, holistic approach, process driven, organization-wide. His perspective on the term "design thinking" was clear, concise and easy to consume. He made the concept of "design thinking" social inside a 3M corporate culture. He spoke on the importance of showing, not telling people about the value of design. He also had a great quote, "do you think Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ives talked about proving the value of design?" Highly unlikely.
Design as a competence.
And, design should design, which means design manages design and this needs to be how design is structured inside an organization. This manifests in a structure inside 3M to match design decision-making with design leadership. This has to be one of the strongest legs of his effort to date. It sets up an organization like 3M to go far beyond giving "design" lip service or air quotes.
Once in a lifetime.
Then, Eric was able to put into application the discipline he was building inside 3M. He had a chance to shift the meaning of the 3M brand.
3M Science. Applied to Life.
This effort intentionally dropped the word Innovation and built an internal campaign to clarify the 3M design philosophy and governance. The result is best exemplified in
If you watch the video you'll see a beautiful engaging story about science being irrelevant without application to people and their individual challenges. To hear a $32 billion corporation like 3M using empathy in their design efforts is encouraging. But, and this is a Kardashian sized but, Eric would likely admit there's a long way to go on his mission to embed design methods into the culture of 3M.
We all appreciate the effort and the talented team he has brought aboard to take on this mission.