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The Power of Empathy in Innovation

by Stefan Lindegaard
September 20, 20139/20/13 1 Comment

I believe that the innovation output would be much better if we really know and care about those we innovate with. How can we become better at this? Well, you can start by asking yourself questions like these:

Why am I working with this person? What are the real reasons for us to do something together? Most often, the reasons you come up with are all about yourself. This can still bring good benefits, but you win even more when you start seeing the full picture – and both sides – of the partnership.

What is this person really interested in? What actions make this person grow – or lose – respect for others? The best kind of innovation is created between people, not companies. You might see the full picture of reasons for working together, but you can multiply the power of your partnership if you respect – and perhaps even like – each other. This starts by getting to know the other guy personally.

What motivates this person? This builds further on the last questions. Try to find out what drives the other person to work harder and smarter. Go for personal as well as business reasons.

What does this person bring to the table? You hopefully have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses you bring to the table. Develop a similar understanding on your partner.

I could continue with similar questions, but I think you get the picture by now. It is about having empathy for your partners. This can bring power to innovation.

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Mette Vesterager says:

    Very true. Empathy is important in innovation, and not just when it comes to partners and co-workers, but also customers. I highly recommend Dev Patnik's book: Wired to Care. It has some great examples showing how important it is to be around customers, not just reading surveys, but to be actually present with them, because it gives you a much better understanding of their situation and needs.