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Design Thinking: Innovation through Empathy

Design thinking is considered a foolproof method of bringing innovation to a sector by introducing a product or process that precisely adheres to the needs of the customers. But often it misses setting up a new mark in innovation because it lacks or rather blatantly skips a key parameter - empathising

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Sujay Kalele, Founder, TRU Realty

“Human-centered design is a philosophy, not a precise set of methods, but one that assumes that innovation should start by getting close to users and observing their activities.”– Donald A. Norman, Co – founder of Nielsen Norman Group, Design Thinking pioneer, veteran American researcher.

In a world where assumption takes precedence over honest survey, the latter is becoming more crucial in order to deliver something truly remarkable. One such stage where a humanistic and delicate perusal of the customer’s mind comes into the picture is a frequently-heard concept in various sectors called Design Thinking. Design thinking involves doing a thorough customer-centric research while developing products which ticks off various stages – defining a problem, market research, ideation, brainstorming, testing, etc. It is considered a foolproof method of bringing innovation to a sector by introducing a product or process that precisely adheres to the needs of the customers. But often it misses setting up a new mark in innovation because it lacks or rather blatantly skips a key parameter – empathising.

Imagine being served by a company that cares about what you need, what you feel about a certain problem being addressed, what your preferences, reservations and opinions are about a certain idea or requirement. Design thinking spearheaded by such empathy helps in gathering helpful insights into what people want to experience. The primary step involved in adopting an empathetic point of view is to reflect on the existing roadblocks in a certain process, product or service and try to feel what unpleasant experiences people must have been through at every turn and how they would have wanted to be treated instead. Taking this as a baseline helps the design team to develop a product that touches upon the lives of the company’s customers on a personal level, making them feel as if they are being listened to even without having to voice their concerns and wants.

Design thinking plays a huge role, especially in the field of real estate. Buying a home is really a special buying experience for any person. Empathising with a potential customer’s frame of mind regarding this whole new experience is of paramount importance. That’s how one can revere customers by being a minute observer of their innermost thoughts regarding buying a home and the way they would like the whole process of home lifecycle to be. Understanding customers’ point of view further guides design & development team to conceptualise a product that stands out in all ways while being financially feasible and providing the least possible window for any kind of grievances. Such an empathetic stance helps strengthen the intricate process of design thinking by making it an exhibition of a multi-layered reality check. Empathy-oriented design thinking has always helped getting into the customers’ shoes and see their world from the designer’s eyes and experience first-hand the kind of delight customers feel when they witness a hassle-free and information-rich process of buying a property.

This in turn equips the whole team of product designers, process aggregators and ground-level executives to develop and promote innovative properties that truly resonate with and aptly reflect the needs and preferences of the end customer. This kind of a novel way of dealing with multiple stakeholders in the segment of IT-enabled real estate development will lead to bringing together of the best of real estate brokers, vendors and consultants to serve the customers in the best possible manner.

Next time you stumble upon an impressive product or service which left you spellbound with a personalised pleasant experience; you know what has gone into it to bring you the best possible outcome. Can you think of some of your past buying experiences which made you feel this way? We would love to hear from you about it.

Authored by Sujay Kalele, Founder, TRU Realty


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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