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Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy Hardcover – January 19, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A veteran business strategist and adjunct faculty member at Stanford Univ., Patnaik explores the role of empathy in successful companies, producing a thoughtful, practical meditation on the power of walking in someone else's shoes. Though he utilizes examples from his work with Harley Davidson, Cisco and Nike, his skills in the classroom get a good showcase too, with lessons on history and biology, as well as revealing exercises from his class (called Needfinding) with "aha" revelations like: "For thousands of years, people made things for other people they knew"; it was the Industrial Revolution that divided producer from consumer. Essentially, Patnaik proposes that a successful company must cross that divide and learn about their customers' needs by interacting with, understanding and, in some cases, hiring them. Incorporating some familiar ideas-the power of "framing," the golden rule-Patnaik manages to keep his text fresh and brisk, making this a cagey but compassionate guide for execs and business students.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A veteran business strategist and adjunct faculty member at Stanford Univ., Patnaik explores the role of empathy in successful companies, producing a thoughtful, practical meditation on the power of walking in someone else’s shoes. Though he utilizes examples from his work with Harley Davidson, Cisco and Nike, his skills in the classroom get a good showcase too, with lessons on history and biology, as well as revealing exercises from his class (called Needfinding) with “aha” revelations like: “For thousands of years, people made things for other people they knew”; it was the Industrial Revolution that divided producer from consumer. Essentially, Patnaik proposes that a successful company must cross that divide and learn about their customers’ needs by interacting with, understanding and, in some cases, hiring them. Incorporating some familiar ideas–the power of “framing,” the golden rule–Patnaik manages to keep his text fresh and brisk, making this a cagey but compassionate guide for execs and business students. (Publishers Weekly, Jan.)
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I’ve been teaching User Experience design for the past few months and realized that really what I’m teaching is empathetic observation/information-gathering and empathetic storytelling. The key word here is empathetic. This is an attribute I’ve taken for granted - I mean, we as humans are born with a mirror neuron system so duh, aren’t we already fully empathetic at birth?
Turns out there’s quite a few folks out there that have their empathy-meters turned way down or even turned completely off and they are in dire need of classes, training and examples of what empathy is and how to develop it. Whew - thank goodness I came to the rescue huh? :) Thank goodness Dev Patnaik wrote “Wired to Care” too!
The book is written as a series of business case studies examining why certain products or companies failed pre-empathy, learned how to develop and implement empathy in their daily work and then demonstrates the transformative power of empathy in these businesses.
Key Takeaway: Investing in empathy has a tangible effect on your bottom line and provides a rapid ROI. So invest in it
Overall the book is well researched, provides a plethora of resources to act on and memorable stories. I have recommended this book over and over to my students and colleagues and will continue to evangelize this as a “primer on empathy in the modern world”.
Hats off to you Dev Patnaik and thanks! (read this review on my blog: http://lalithac.com/post/95225357675/required-reading-for-ux-professionals-wired-to-care)
It's not necessarily new to hear about open empathy organizations and how all levels and positions in a company can get ahead by getting in the heads of their customers. As the author would say, companies who get outside of their own walls to connect and walk in the moccasins of others have a competitive advantage to serve customers better, which could make all of the difference in the passion, success and bottom line for that business.
What makes 'Wired to Care' stand out above the rest is that Patnaik shows they WHY but expertly couples this with the critical HOW to slowly integrate this type of mindset into your company's walls while giving examples of how companies like Nike and Cisco did the exact same thing. Now the shift in corporate mindset that many already know could be a game changer feels more like a graspable reality than a far-fetched fantasy...
Great point in today's data freak world. It can get repetitive at some points like all business books with one focal point.
If you've gone through the main biz best sellers, this is a good addition.
In the not-too-distant past, empathy was a necessary ingredient of all businesses. All businesses were small businesses, and people made things for other people that they knew personally. However the world changed with the industrial revolution, and mass production created a rift between producers and consumers. The scale and complexity of modern industry require that organisations use "maps" which simplify their understanding of their customers, but it is important to remember that "The map is not the territory," and organisations need to find ways of staying close to customers if they wish to remain successful.
In my view the authors make a convincing argument for the importance of organisations empathising with customers, although they do not address the issue of empathy inside an organisation, such as empathy of managers for employees. Essentially the book is about empathy in marketing, not empathy in management. There are numerous engaging anecdotes which make the book interesting to read.
And these great things come from being with people. Listening to them, watching from their eyes and walking their shoes.
I would never guess that a university can teach a course of Needfinding. And such great stories were told...