Empathy in Action Training Cape Town

Empathy in Action Training offers a deep dive into empathy and how it relates to human-centred design. In an interactive and experiential training, you will be introduced to five aspects of empathy and how they are applied to the design process. Each aspect introduces an understanding of, and skills-for-practice of, these layers of empathy.

The Empathy in Action Training offers a combination of empathy methods and tools and practice to develop skills under the guidance of two experienced facilitators.

This Empathy in Action Training is relevant for facilitators, practitioners and trainers of human-centred design, design thinking, UX and service design. Researchers who are looking to understand their research data more fully will also benefit from this work. The nature of the Empathy in Action Training is highly experiential, combining activations of ideas and reflective learning.

Background information

Empathy is central to design thinking and human-centred design. To design innovative solutions that address the deeper needs of people requires a knowledge and understanding of what those needs are. Empathy is a core capacity with which to gain deeper insights of others and their needs and motivations. Often, however, empathy is sidelined as a 'fluffy' concept and is rushed through during the design phase. The possibility to delve deeper into empathic engagement and discovery presents the opportunities for more grounded, clearer and thorough understanding of our users' emotional landscape.

Can empathy be taught? In our experience it can. We are born with the basic empathy equipment. How it is developed depends on many factors and life circumstances. The good news is that, due to neuroplasticity, awareness and practice can build on and develop skills later in life. Similar to going to the gym to strengthen physical muscles, practice can develop the empathy muscle.

We've all heard the expression to 'walk in someone else's shoes'. This metaphor implies physically placing oneself in the context, situation and emotional state of another in order to gain empathy and understanding of that person. It is, however, possible to literally embody empathy for another through activated and performative approaches. By employing various role-play techniques adopted from Forum Theater, Russian Theater training methods and a host of other techniques, including storytelling, we can breathe life into our data and explore nuances that lead to deeper understanding.

What you will learn

The skills of Empathy in Action consists of five elements:

Self-empathy and intention setting: With self-empathy you will learn to create a presence with your own inner life and to find the inner resources to be relevant and present to other people whether the end users you are researching, your team members or teams you are facilitating. Exploring personal stories and finding creative expression in these details sets the context for a broader dive into empathy beyond our personal domain.

Kinesthetic empathy and connection with others: During this session you will learn to use kinesthetic empathy as a means to engage with colleagues and clients. You will learn about the role of coordination and synchronization in understanding the deeper needs of users and facilitating creative teams. Mirroring leads to physical and physiological synchronization which literally helps us to 'tune into' other people's emotions, thoughts, behaviours.

Reflective empathy and hearing the other: During this session you will understand and practice the different stages of reflective listening from the most basic with literal reflections to more complicated by reflecting the essence, the emotion or the mood of what the speaker is saying. This includes non-verbal reflective 'listening'.

Imaginative empathy and diversifying perspectives: During this session you will learn about perspective taking and the practice of viewing a situation or context from the viewpoint of another person. This ability to shift between our own personal perspectives of the world and those of others, a duality of awareness, is explored. You will learn first to know something about our own position and situation in order to relate to the 'other'.

Empathic creativity and actionable outcomes: Here you will be guided to identify empathic insights and how to apply them to tools in the design process.

Date: 06 February 2020 to 07 February 2020
Time: 08:30 - 17:00
Venue: DesignThinkers Academy HQ, Cape Town
Cost: Please visit course webpage for prices

More info: Upper floor, 65 Wolfe street,
Chelsea Village, Wynberg, 7800
Cape Town, South Africa

Contact: Aimee du Plessis
Company name: DesignThinkers Academy
Telephone number: 0217610718
Email address