Empathy and “T-shaped” individuals

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Empathy is a type of awareness, a type of consciouness and since it seems to be important to our common survival, it may also be one of our most important intelligences.

Empathy helps us understand others. It helps us understand ourselves. It helps us understand the world.

It is no secret that empathy and design go hand and hand. Some of the leading, most innovative companies recognize the value of empathy very well.Quoting from the user experience design blog, Beep:

“So, in IDEO’s 5-point design strategy plan as referenced in FastCompany’s June 2005 edition, they say:

Step 2: Recruit T-Shaped People

We look for people who are so inquisitive about the world that they’re willing to try to do what you do. We call them “T-shaped people.” They have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T — they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well. They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behavior that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point — patterns that yield ideas.”

Source

Blog: Beep. “IDEO Hires T-shaped People“; March 15, 2007. >>

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Daniel Montano
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Keyword: Daniel Montano, Dan Montano, user experience design, information architect

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