Shock empathy workshop: Exploring empathy skills for designers and non-designers

Dan Brian Trowsdale, Gerard Duff, Jacques Giard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


User-centered design or user-focused design are terms which describe processes that attempt to involve potential customers or users within a design process. The intention of such processes is to create solutions that better serve the needs, feelings and wants of users, therefore increasing user experience, product desirability, and ultimately to increase the value of the solution. This paper discusses a simply executed creativity workshop which has been refined over a number of years to deliver a heightened awareness of empathy with user needs and characteristics. The workshop challenges participants to deliver solutions to problems that are unexpected and seemingly ridiculous in nature. The creativity workshop has been implemented in a variety of timeframes with designers, engineers and mixed non-technical groups. During more recent years it has been recognized that this exercise was in fact delivering learning outcomes beyond those of ‘creativity’ which were originally intended, and includes those of building the value of empathy and understanding of users in the design process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICDC 2018 - 5th International Conference on Design Creativity, Conference Proceedings
EditorsElies Dekoninck, Andrew Wodehouse, Chris Snider, Georgi Georgiev, Gaetano Cascini
PublisherDesign Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781904670834
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event5th International Conference on Design Creativity, ICDC 2018 - Bath, United Kingdom
Duration: Jan 31 2018Feb 2 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
ISSN (Print)2220-4334
ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342


Conference5th International Conference on Design Creativity, ICDC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Design thinking
  • Empathy
  • Group
  • User

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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