Showing all posts tagged #empathy:


Why America Lacks Global Leaders - Harvard Business Review

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

In Why America Lacks Global Leaders Bronwyn Fryer notes that "for C-Level leaders in global organizations, one single characteristic - “sensitivity to culture" (so-called “cultural empathy") - ranks at the very top of the requirement list. This rare quality can’t be “taught," or injected simply by working in an overseas office.
Cultural empathy requires a degree of egolessness, because you have to surrender the notion that your country, or language, or point of view is best. Cultural empathy means that you have to not just see through the eyes of someone who is different, but you have to think through that person’s brain. True cultural empathy springs from personality, early nurturing, curiosity, and appreciation of diversity".

The FBI approach to negotiation

Posted on May 2nd, 2014


From Artificial emotional intelligence by Giles Colborne.

Language fear: are we scared of making mistakes in foreign languages?

Posted on February 28th, 2014

Does a fear of making mistakes hold you back when speaking a foreign language? This is the question I asked at the No Island is an Island conference organised by the European Commission in October 2013.

Adam Marshall from the British Chamber of Commerce pointed to cultural differences between the UK and USA: he thinks the emphasis on public speaking and performance in US schools lays the foundation for language confidence:


Food Waste Hero

Posted on January 23rd, 2014

Food Waste Hero is an early-stage prototype project for schools to raise awareness of food waste through behavioural economics, storytelling, design and technology. It features a Raspberry Pi connected device to weigh kitchen food waste bins and shows how households are doing compared to the UK average.

UK households waste 6.7 million tonnes of food every year, around one third of the 21.7 million tonnes we purchase.

The core of the project is a device to "nudge" families to waste less. Many local authorities in the UK require domestic waste to be separated, so many households have a separate bin for food waste in their kitchen. By weighing this bin automatically, and giving real-time feedback on the device itself and on a web application about how the family is doing compared to the UK average, students learn about where food comes from and where waste ends up.

Food Waste Hero also includes a cartoon to portray the journey of a single banana from a plantation in Ecuador to a home in the UK. Connecting facts and figures to people and places encourages systems thinking, while stories engage our empathy and imagination.

In addition to showcasing interaction design, the Internet of Things (IoT) and behavioural economics, the prototype gives students the opportunity to build, test and modify a product that serves a real social and environmental need.

The following presentation was given to NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) in June 2013 in Cambridge UK - the presentation is also available with speaker notes:


Difficult Conversations - Cambridge February 2014

Posted on January 16th, 2014

This is a workshop for people who want to get better at life's difficult conversations.
The ones where there’s something at stake for us, something that we want. But where another human being is, ahem, in our way. We often devote a lot of energy to avoiding having them. We spend a lot of time in our head, or complaining out loud to our friends, about the difficult character of the person we would like to engage with but can’t.
Lots of courses are run on “dealing with difficult people" for this reason. These tend to be quite long on analysis and full of very intelligent sounding principles and frameworks. The trouble is that these courses idealise how we should hold our conversations. We think this can be disempowering… few of us can really live up to these ideals and the effort to do so can either leave us feeling we have failed, or leave us in a space of restrained politeness where we’re just repressing our more animal selves, albeit more skilfully than before.
The Clue is in the Title
We think the clue is in the title. Difficult conversations are difficult. We don’t help ourselves by attempting to make them easy by mental effort… in fact that often just makes the psychological rut deeper.
And since difficult conversations have high stakes, we don’t normally get many shots at having them.
In this workshop, we'll use a very specific type of role play where participants can experiment with different ways to have the conversation. With a big emphasis on playfully trying stuff out, and without putting too much effort into analysing or idealising. We think of it as the rapid prototyping of behaviour. It brings some of the wisdom of the maker and agile movements to the training sphere.
A Process of Discovery
We see difficult conversations as an opportunity to experiment and uncover bits of ourselves that we don’t always deploy. It’s a process of discovery and it can be so much more energising and exciting than attempting to follow a set of rules.
We are limiting the group to six particpants (plus ourselves) which we feel will make for a deeper personal experience. We think you'll gain a better understanding of a more productive way to experiment with your difficult conversations.
Thursday 6 February 2014 10:00 - 13:00 at Cambridge Union Society.
Eventbrite - Difficult Conversations

The Benefits of Improv for UK Language Learners

Posted on January 10th, 2014

Many people in the UK already have a basic knowledge of one or more foreign languages, yet lack the confidence to use this knowledge effectively.

In fact, many people feel anxious precisely in the languages they have learned - because school teaches us to fear “getting it wrong". The same people, at large in a country where they have no language training at all, will tend to improvise with no such fear of failure.

But what would it be like if you didn’t feel that fear, to speak your chosen language fearlessly? By allowing people to speak language in that state of confidence, we aim to greatly accelerate their learning and multiply their enjoyment.

Using techniques from improvised theatre, we help to grow people’s self-confidence abroad or in meetings with people from other cultures.

To be precise: we’re not teaching languages. We’re helping you make better use of what you already know.

Benefits of improvisational theatre games:
  • Improvisation is not scripted - and nor is everyday life. Playing improv games provides a safe space to try things for daily use
  • In improv, as in life, the only way to understand is to “get out of your own head" and pay careful attention to what is happening around you.
  • Improv games can be used to reduce fear and anxiety in performers on stage - they teach that it’s OK to make mistakes
  • Using gibberish, improvisers learn to communicate with body language and mime and facial expressions - even managing to create complex storylines. To experience this is to realise how much we can communicate with even meagre language skills
  • Improv games can be given context like role-play, such as “at the cafe" or “at the airport"
Our next course is Thursday 16 January 2014 13:00 - 16:30 at Cambridge Business Lounge.


Eventbrite - Be Yourself in Any Language

In My Shoes: Empathic Interactive Theatre - London December 2013

Posted on December 11th, 2013

Join us for an experiment in using virtual-reality technology to explore the world’s absurdities from a stranger’s perspective. To briefly step into the shoes of another person, hear their thoughts, touch, taste and see the world as they do.
Using innovative audio-visual technology, In My Shoes is an ever-expanding collection of first-person documentary-style interactive performances, which guide participants through the beautiful, the challenging, the mundane and the surreal aspects of being human.
Initially conceived to facilitate communications between TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) patients and those who love, live with, and support them, In My Shoes continues to evolve.
The series uses touch, taste, smell, audio-visual technology and first-person documentary to recreate real life experiences which challenge preconceptions, facilitate understanding and enable participants to use what they learn to inform communications and care.
Come along to this amazing interactive theatre experience in London tomorrow. I’ll be there all day playing various characters. Book your free 15-minute life-changing experience now!
Thursday 12 December 2013 11:00 - 21:00 at The White Building, Hackney.
Eventbrite - In My Shoes - 12 December 2013

Difficult Conversations - Cambridge December 2013

Posted on December 5th, 2013

This is a workshop for people who want to get better at life’s difficult conversations.
The ones where there’s something at stake for us, something that we want. But where another human being is, ahem, in our way. We often devote a lot of energy to avoiding having them. We spend a lot of time in our head, or complaining out loud to our friends, about the difficult character of the person we would like to engage with but can’t.
Lots of courses are run on “dealing with difficult people" for this reason. These tend to be quite long on analysis and full of very intelligent sounding principles and frameworks. The trouble is that these courses idealise how we should hold our conversations. We think this can be disempowering… few of us can really live up to these ideals and the effort to do so can either leave us feeling we have failed, or leave us in a space of restrained politeness where we’re just repressing our more animal selves, albeit more skilfully than before.
We think the clue is in the title. Difficult conversations are difficult. We don’t help ourselves by attempting to make them easy by mental effort… in fact that often just makes the psychological rut deeper.
And since difficult conversations have high stakes, we don’t normally get many shots at having them.
In this workshop, we’ll use a very specific type of role play where participants can experiment with different ways to have the conversation. With a big emphasis on playfully trying stuff out, and without putting too much effort into analysing or idealising. We think of it as the rapid prototyping of behaviour. It brings some of the wisdom of the maker and agile movements to the training sphere.
Johnnie has developed this work over many years work as a coach and facilitator, in places as far afield as The Solomon Islands and San Francisco. He draws on all sorts of ideas and practices that have shaped how he works; things like gestalt psychotherapy, psychodrama, improv theatre and forum theatre, and the work of Tim Gallwey (the Inner Game). Antony brings to bear his background in language, communication, counselling and theatre, and his work as a user experience designer to support the rapid iteration of ideas.
We see difficult conversations as an opportunity to experiment and uncover bits of ourselves that we don’t always deploy. It’s a process of discovery and it can be so much more energising and exciting than attempting to follow a set of rules.
This is the first time we’ve offered this work in Cambridge. We are limiting the group to six particpants (plus ourselves) which we feel will make for a deeper personal experience. We think you’ll gain a better understanding of a more productive way to experiment with your difficult conversations.
Thursday 19 December 2013 09:00 - 13:00 at Cambridge Union Society.
Eventbrite - Difficult Conversations

Creative Surplus: Transforming Attention Deficit

Posted on April 19th, 2013

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a lifelong condition affecting children and adults. In addition to problems with attention, memory and self-control, people with ADHD are more likely to experience mental health problems (Young & Bramham 2007) and engage in criminal activity: 30-50% of UK prison inmates are thought to have the condition versus only 5% of the general population (Young & Goodwin 2010). In 2000, excess treatment costs for adult ADHD in the USA were $31.6 billion, with loss of work productivity estimated to cost a further $77 billion (Weiss 2007).
Design has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of ADHD: whereas psychiatrists and clinical psychologists modify the individual through biochemical, cognitive and behavioural means, designers are best placed to modify the the physical, social and digital environment. For example, social design approaches used by the Design Council to reduce violence against staff in UK accident and emergency wards (Britt 2011) could inform programmes to reduce violence in prison by inmates with ADHD. As yet, however, designers have few academic resources to draw on when designing products and services for people with ADHD (McKnight 2010).
Design and the creative arts have a role to play in maximising the potential benefits of ADHD as well as minimising the costs. Four studies in the scientific literature (Sarkis 2011) have shown a positive correlation between ADHD and creativity, for example: "adults with ADHD showed higher levels of original creative thinking ... and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without ADHD" (White & Shah 2011). Several business schools in the USA teach design thinking (Harvard 2013) and improvisation (Tutton 2010) to develop creativity and leadership, skills that could could help people with ADHD “use creative advantages to strategically offset difficulties caused by ADHD symptoms in daily life" (White & Shah 2011).
Drama and improvised theatre can also be used in the design process to improve collaboration and communication (Gerber 2007), to develop empathy (Stewart 2011), and to facilitate participatory design (Brandt 2000) -- a particularly attractive proposition for a user group that may be inherently creative.
Designing for and with people with ADHD may ultimately benefit the non-ADHD population in an increasingly distracted world: “on 10 October 2011, BlackBerry’s messenger services went offline for 3 days … Dubai police reported a 20% drop in road traffic accidents. Abu Dhabi police reported a 40% drop ... the interfaces we create are killing our users ... maybe we can take some design lessons from [people with ADHD]" (Colborne 2011).
References

Brandt, E., & Grunnet, C. (2000). Evoking the future: Drama and props in user centered design. In Proceedings of Participatory Design Conference (PDC 2000) (pp. 11-20).
Britt, A. (2011). Reducing violence and aggression in A&E. Design Council.
Colborne, G. (2011). Driven to distraction. CX Partners.
Gerber, E. (2007). Improvisation principles and techniques for design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1069-1072). ACM.
Harvard (2013). The Business of Design Thinking. Harvard Magazine 29 January 2013.
McKnight, L. (2010). Designing for ADHD: in search of guidelines. In IDC 2010 Digital Technologies and Marginalized Youth Workshop.
Sarkis, S. (2011). Is the ADHD Brain More Creative? Psychology Today 13 June 2011.
Stewart, B. (2011). DD+D: a theatre-based design consulting firm. Dramatic Diversity.
Tutton, M. (2010). Why using improvisation to teach business skills is no joke. CNN 18 February 2010.
Weiss, M. (2007). The Economic Costs of ADHD. Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada.
White, H. A., & Shah, P. (2011). Creative style and achievement in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(5), 673-677.
Young & Bramham (2007). ADHD in Adults: A Psychological Guide to Practice. John Wiley and Sons: Chichester
Young, S., & Goodwin, E. (2010). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in persistent criminal offenders: the need for specialist treatment programs. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 10(10), 1497-1500.

Channelling the Magic: Applying Improvised Theatre to UX Design - Cambridge November 2012

Posted on November 29th, 2012

I’m running a workshop with Clare Kerrison today at UX Cambridge 2012 on Channelling the Magic: Applying Improvised Theatre and Comedy to UX Design:
Improvised theatre skills help us access our creativity, to work collaboratively and with more empathy. Watching and playing good improvised theatre can feel like magic. In this session you will learn the basic techniques improvisers use to co-create something from nothing, a vocabulary to describe your experiences, and how to apply these techniques in your design work. You will experience the wonderful, visceral “yes and" feeling of collaborative co-creation, where ideas emerge rapidly and spontaneously to deliver results whose value often far exceeds the sum of individual contributions. Using the same basic techniques, you will even learn how to develop your own ideas to their full potential in your solo work. You’ll also have a lot of fun!

Thursday 29 November 2012 17:00 - 18:30 at Kaetsu Educational & Cultural Centre.

Antony Quinn

Technology consultant, actor & improviser.