Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Generating New Business Ideas: Empathy and Customer Focused Design

The idea is crucial in starting a business. The first Butler Venture Accelerator activity this year was a lunch and learn session on how to identify, refine ideas, move forward, while keeping customer design in mind.

Great ideas often solve problems that are not our own. Usually the group of people that we solve problems for become our customers. It is important to figure out what a customer really need. Design is a process of improving ideas by having conversations with customers. Human Centered Design focuses on people’s needs with technological feasibility and a viable business strategy that can be converted into customer value and market opportunity.

The process of design starts by iterating and truly understanding “the problem.” To better understand the problem, we need to see the problem through several different lenses. The three lenses are desirability, feasibility, and viability. Yet, understanding others requires empathy, a deep understanding of another’s feelings or problems. Empathy is the centerpiece of a human centered design process. You need to understand people within the context of your design challenge to find what is truly meaningful to people.

To engage in empathetic design you need to:

  • Observe (watch): view users and their behavior in the context of their lives.
  • Engage (ask): interact with and interview users.
  • Immerse (do): Experience what your user experiences.

There will be different stakeholders, and you need to listen to other’s idea on what and why things are happening. In order to develop better ideas, challenge yourself, refine the ideas that come to mind, see if they are actual business opportunity. Be open to improvement and be open to the opportunities near you.