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Empathy

The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to,


and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and
experience of another; also : the capacity for this
Innovation
The introduction of something new;
a new idea, method, or device; novelty
Values
Principles, standards or ualities considered intrinsically
worthwhile or desirable!

Design as Value

There is no dispute or doubt any more that design adds value to


virtually any & every product, service, communication/content or
ambience offering intended or meant for a consumer

What makes design unique is that it privileges the user/consumer's


needs, tastes and preferences, life & self contet, values and
aspirations, and her circumstances, constraints and conditions of use

!eeping these considerations uppermost, it seeks to audit/


restructure/streamline/innovate the materials & technologies used,
modes of production, features and configuration, user"friendliness
and aesthetics/attractiveness, packaging, branding/communication
and presentation/retailing #of the product/service/etc in question$
around these

This is ho% design &adds value'

The core value that motivates design therefore is empathy %ith the
user/consumer( embodying the clich) &the customer is *od'

+s our markets become more competitive and less monopolistic,


businesses have no choice but to vie %ith each other in delivering
ever"greater value to their intended consumers

,sually, this means they need to understand and respond to


consumer needs better than their competitors

,nderstanding requires research, and responding requires design

-n this competitive scenario ho%ever, it doesn't take long for others to


catch up %ith a pioneer or leader in terms of achieving parity of
offering, or coming up %ith an equally compelling alternative

This unrelenting pressure enforces them to gain better research/


empathy/insights and respond %ith better designs/innovations on an
almost continuous basis. this becomes a never"ending cycle

These countless empathy/response loops mean that businesses as a


%hole should have attained a very sophisticated level of empathy %ith
consumers. but is that so/

The fact is that businesses are constrained by their legacy culture &
investments, their present infrastructure, systems & %orldvie%s, even
their future visions & plans. all this constrains their response to
consumer needs 0 larger/older/more capital"intensive businesses
often more so than smaller/ne%er/lo%"overhead ones

1onsumers too are changing constantly, %hat they aspired for or


valued yesterday may not be true today or tomorro%

This results in an ever"present and substantial gap bet%een the ideal


scenario and that %hich businesses actually deliver

2usinesses are perfectly a%are of this, most accept this as an


inescapable fact of life, many even become dogmatic about this 0
and thereby devalue &empathy' and &innovation' in their scheme of
things #they have to find other %ays to cope %ith competitive
pressure$

3o%ever, this gap ensures that designers are never short of


opportunities and challenges 0 as long as this trend persists

Design as Values

-n addition to empathy and innovation, there is another


concept that makes design unique, a rather subversive
one( and that is Values, or 4thics or 5orals6

-n order to avoid confusion #or competition$ %ith engineers,


design never chose to be a technical practice6

+s its stage for performance, design bracketed itself %ith


business 0 but never quite settled do%n %ith#in$ it6

+t core, design still retained its origins in art, and retained


art's concerns about meaning and taste6

2y virtue of its intrinsic human"centricity, design has


al%ays concerned itself %ith humanistic values and ethics6