Empathy Maps and Postcards: The Three-Week Sprint

After Design Days, we gave attendees some time to reflect on what they had learned through the experience of designing a better visit to the grocery store. Most wanted to stay updated on the project, and over half were interested in getting involved in some way.

Is it useful?

For many organizations, using the principles of human-centered design is a substantial departure from their normal operations - for others, it might seem like business-as-usual.

We wondered about the kinds of questions new partners might have. How could the process be applied to meal provision in the Northtowns of Erie County? What about a companionship program in Syracuse, or senior services in Utica? Would attendees from Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties find it useful? Would their clients?

Hearing from Older Adults

Regardless of any specific programming, the next step is focused on one thing - hearing directly from the vulnerable older adults that our partner organizations and agencies interact with on a daily basis. Asking about everyday experiences, memorable moments, and some deeper perspectives can build better insight into the needs of our older friends, neighbors, parents, and clients.

Many attendees returned home with a handful of postcards (“If you really knew me…”) and empathy maps (“Tell us about a memorable day…”) to start conversations that were different from those they might normally have.

Checking In

We started checking in with organizations over a week ago to see how things were going.

Hearing from over 25 organizations actively working on empathy maps, we’re learning about newly-forming and long-established partnerships, and have already sent out 300 additional postcards to groups that are running out of them.*

Partner organizations have also been facing their fair share of challenges. For some participating individuals, the empathy maps are a bit too open-ended. For others, it can’t capture enough. Many people have also had questions about translating what they learned at Design Days for their staff that were not able to attend.  

Some organizations have also found that they are not only bringing new perspectives to their own organization, but also to the other people and groups that work with the same clients.

It is quickly becoming apparent that Aging By Design is helping to incorporate design thinking into our partners’ work with older adults, and also starting conversations that could one day bring a new sense of client-focused understanding across entire networks of care.

Collecting Empathy Maps and Postcards

If you haven’t started collecting empathy maps or postcards, it’s not too late! Aging By Design is in the middle of a three-week sprint to proactively use these tools with your clients. We’ll be talking with many organizations and individuals over the phone, and will be making visits to places across Western and Central New York to provide in-person support and assistance when needed.**

*Request more empathy maps and/or postcards by emailing agingbydesign@hfwcny.org

**Aging By Design will be sending a member of the Project Team to Syracuse on Tuesday, November 8th - please let us know if you’d like to set up a visit or a conversation!