The Power of Realizing Empathy

At FUSE 2014 in Chicago this morning, Seung Chan (Slim) Lim, Designer & Researcher, Author, Realizing Empathy, talked to us about the power of realizing empathy and how it translates to brand strategy and design today.

Originally, Slim was actually trained as a computer scientist, then he went into human-centered design. Later, he spent almost four years conducting research at an art school, which inspired him to then immerse himself into the act of making things with his hands with art and even his whole body with dancing and acting.

Slim’s background and research lays a solid foundation of how to realize empathy. So, what exactly is empathy? Empathy is the experience an event where we feel as if we are embodying or understanding the context of another marked by a feeling of connection/oneness/resonance. Specifically, realizing empathy is the process of how to go from point A to point B and traveling that distance.

How can you develop empathy?

There are four key principles that guide developing empathy, according to Slim, which include respecting, listening, considering, and acting. Respecting means to look differently and create value from others differences. Listening is to make meaning and be present and inquiring, willing to unlearn and relearn. Next, considering means to make metaphors and build a language of expression based on shared experiences. Lastly, acting is to be sincerely honest and tell the story of who you are in the moment, while you are willing to be vulnerable in the process.

“Whenever you are having difficulty realizing empathy, there is some sort of conflict that you need to resolve,” Slim said. “In order to do so, you need awareness, care and ability to resolve that conflict.”

Slim explained that ultimately, realizing empathy is creating a shared language - finding a shared experience that intersects the two experiences together to create a shared memory.

To see more highlights of Slim’s keynote and more FUSE 2014 presentations, visit our event archive here:

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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