As part of his "eclectic curiosity interviews," Creative Generalist Steve Hardy interviews IDEO Chief Creative Officer Jane Fulton Suri, beginning with a question about the "empathic economy," an idea Fulton Suri recently discussed at BIF-2. She replies:
I shared several examples in the talk at BIF-2 that illustrate how observation, intuition, empathy and imagination about customers/end-users/consumers can inspire and inform innovation. This is no longer a very new idea; at least in progressive companies, it's a fairly widely accepted and well-established approach to innovation....
I'm emphasizing that part of the inspiration and motivation for innovation that comes from creativity sparked by emotional, human, empathic resonance with other people's conditions, not only the more traditional functional analyses of interdependencies that might be more common. As our networks and supporting technology become more sophisticated the interdependence between many different kinds of individuals across the globe becomes more apparent, more accessible and more visible. It seems natural that companies will/can soon have a much broader view of sources and opportunities for innovation in their business than simply around the offer that they make to a consumer.
The interview is longer and covers much more design ground, but I particularly appreciated this passage. The clearest thinking and most creative acts depend to a large degree on feeling something toward the object of our thoughts. And as it turns out, it might also be very good business.