Empathizing in design thinking processes for multi-stakeholder innovation

Y. Lu, Maayke de Brouwer, Boudewijn Soetens, Julie Hornix, Stef Vrehen, Ad A.J. van Berlo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Initiating open innovation for wicked problems is rather difficult because of the number of people/stakeholders that are
involved and the interconnectedness with other problems. This development presents interesting challenges and
opportunities for the development of products, systems, and related services. Design thinking has been widely recognised
as an open problem-solving process with a more human-centred approach to wicked problems than traditional design
challenges. To get a better understanding of these problems, collective action strategies are often required to involve
multi-stakeholders with often conflicting beliefs and values. The empathising activities in the design thinking process are
therefore required for better understanding of the stakeholders as well as the end users.
Through analysing interviews with designers and reflecting with practitioners who apply design thinking to support
open innovation projects, this paper evaluates how VanBerlo, a design and innovation agency in the Netherlands,
supports the creation of professional empathy in the early stages of multi-stakeholder innovation. This paper examines
how different empathies were (not) created in real-life design thinking cases by VanBerlo. The obtained insights will be
used to enhance the empathy concept and provide hands-on experiences to practitioners when initiating multi-stakeholder
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNext Wave
Subtitle of host publicationThe 21st dmi: Academic Design Management Conference Proceedings
Place of PublicationBoston
PublisherDesign Management Institute
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
EventAcademic Design Management Conference: Next Wave #ADMC18 - Ravensbourne University London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Aug 20182 Aug 2018


ConferenceAcademic Design Management Conference: Next Wave #ADMC18
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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