How do you convince strangers to donate blood?
The American Red Cross was facing a dilemma – their donor base was aging and younger people weren’t giving blood. If they didn’t do something, they were going to experience a blood shortage. So they hired consulting firm IDEO to help them redesign the entire experience of donating blood, and they did it starting with empathy.
In the words of David and Tom Kelley, co-founders of IDEO and authors of the book, Creative Confidence:
The notion of empathy and human-centeredness is still not widely practiced in many corporations. Business owners rarely navigate their own websites or watch how people use their products in a real-world setting. And if you do a word association with business person, the word ‘empathy’ doesn’t come up much.
What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation?
For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognize why people do what they do.
Gaining empathy can take some time and resourcefulness. But there is nothing like observing the person you’re creating something for to spark new insights.
We’ve found that figuring out what other people actually need is what leads to the most significant innovations. In other words, empathy is the gateway to the better and sometimes surprising insights that can help distinguish your idea or approach.
When you worry about the product before you worry about the customer, there’s a good chance you’ve already failed.
Placing yourself in your customers shoes to see how they experience your product takes a conscious effort on your part. Your challenge is to align your vision with your customers’ expectations and not the other way around. Yes, you create the product or service, but using empathy you can build it in a way that makes it easy for your customers to say yes, to enjoy the process and to feel confident in recommending it to others.
Here’s how the Red Cross totally revamped their approach, using empathy as their guide:
Download’able Quote Card “Empathy Increases Sales & Gets More Customers”
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