The importance of diversity during ideation and creative collaboration in processes of empathy was highlighted through numerous tasks today. Today, our team discussed the work on the project to date and our ideas for its future development, as well as ideating and planning questions to ask our empathy interviewees. We conducted empathy interviews with representatives from the local government urban planning department and mining department. We took part in an intense multi-lingual 5×5 later that afternoon. After more ideation and discussion we explained empathy mapping to our DUT teammates before proceeding to create an empathy map based on the interviews conducted earlier.
During our team discussion of the project to date and our ideas for its future development our DUT teammates showed us some architecture from Shanghai, that myself, a business student, and Cristian, an industrial design student, had not seen before.
During the 5×5 later that day post it notes scrawled in English and Chinese were flung down on the table. Until we compiled them all in a representation in Step 5 we, being non-Chinese speaking UTS students, didn’t know what they had written. While it was interesting for me to see that sometimes ideas matched up, even with our diverse cultural, linguistic and professional backgrounds, many new ideas were also bouncing around as a result of these diversities.
This was the same for the empathy mapping. After a short period of trial and error we were soon all contributing our individual insights to the diagram. Through the process of pinpointing our persona’s thoughts and feelings the benefits of our lingo-cultural diversity were exhibited in particular. DUT students had greater insight into the Chinese persona from the empathy interviews as well as their general cultural knowledge. Our professional diversity, with teammates with architectural design, landscape design, industrial design, communication and business backgrounds, also challenged each other’s ideas of the persona and in doing so developed a more insightful and accurate understanding of the persona.
Cultural, linguistic and professional diversity played a significant role in ideation during process of empathy. Through our teams’ diversity, our comprehension as a team of the persona for whom we were conducting empathy, our idea generation for the project itself, and the methods of collaboration themselves were enriched.
Due to our team’s diversity our insights were deeper, more creative and more unique. They were developed further and quicker than would have otherwise been possible. They were particularly important in processes of empathy, specifically, resulting in conflicting impressions and ideas, which in turn resulted in more discussion, and thus a more insightful and accurate empathy map of our persona.