Design for empathy: a co-design case study with the Finnish parliament

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Tuomala, Enni-Kukka S E; Baxter, Weston L
Series: ICED
Institution: Imperial College London
Section: Collaborative Design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Globalisation and the mixing of people, cultures, religions and languages fuels pressing healthcare, educational, political and other complex sociocultural issues. Many of these issues are driven by society?s struggle to find ways to facilitate deeper and more emotionally meaningful ways to help people connect and overcome the empathy gap which keeps various groups of people apart. This paper presents a process to design for empathy ? as an outcome of design. This extends prior work which typically looks at empathy for design ? as a part of the design process, as is common in inclusive design and human centered design process. We reflect on empathy in design and challenge the often internalised role of the designer to be more externalised, to shift from an empathiser to become an empathy generator. We develop and demonstrate the process to design for empathy through a co-creation case study aiming to bring empathy into politics. The ongoing project is set in the Parliament of Finland, and involves co-creation with six Members of the Parliament from five political parties. Outcomes of the process and case study are discussed, including design considerations for future research.

Keywords: Empathy, Case study, Collaborative design, Design process, Design for X (DfX)


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.