Design thinking: "What is empathy that thou art mindful of it?"
T.Randles 27000420E0 Visits (9211)
We product managers in IBM are an empathetic bunch. “Really?” thinks you the reader? Well, yes; I would think that we always have had a strong empathy with our IBM clients, their businesses and the critical role our Netcool solutions have played in their different IT Operations and Operational Support Systems. These Netcool solutions are, after all, very critical to their business success. Now, in the era of IBM Design Thinking, client empathy has been formally enshrined into the process of how we design our solutions, and undoubtedly our IBM customers with be the beneficiaries of the focus on client experience that this brings.
The focus on empathy is central to the understanding phase of IBM Design Thinking, with its “empathy mapping” process step. Having being through this design phase recently, I was really struck how willing our Sponsor User customers were in participating in this process. The user persona interviews we conducted in order to better understand their daily jobs and experience with our solutions were engaging and extremely positive experiences. What was different this time in my view, was that the key customers participating felt like this was more than just an “angst offload” with IBM representatives, but they were partners with IBM in a process that really had the potential to transform their user experience with our solutions.
I found the empathy mapping phase a powerful focus on the user with its emphasis on what the user is both doing and feeling. Of course, our challenge now is to transform any negative feelings that our customers may occasionally have with our solutions into positive ones; not an easy ask. The key benefit of IBM Design Thinking is that these Sponsor Users are along for the entire journey and they will be checking up on our design progress shortly. There is no place to hide! Watch this space for an update on our progress.