Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

1 HCD Introduction
2 HCD Organizations
    To Interview
3 Process (overview)
4 Manuals
5 Classes-Workshops
6 The Process
7 In Education
8 Videos
10 Brainstorming
11 Sort
15 Empathy Maps  

Empathic Design Conference
Empathic Design Magazine

   Design and Empathy


HCD Warm-Up Activities






Empathy and HCD  >  4 Online Learning Manuals

Check out these many free manuals to learn the nuts and bolts of HCD.



An Introduction: Developing the Design Mind: An Introduction to Design Thinking



90 minute Introduction Exercise: Design Project 0:

Overview Page
DP0 (Design Project Zero) is a 90-minute (including debrief)

A 90-minute video-led cruise through our methodology”
"in 90 minutes you will be taken through a full design cycle by participating in The Gift-Giving Project."

DP0 Project Topic: Wallet, Gift-Giving, or other - can edit the workbook


The Wallet Project Example D.School -  a first project Design Project Zero

Video Introduction: Facilitating DP0 (rough cut)

Video: 1 Hour

The Wallet Project is 90-minute (including debrief) fast-paced project though a full design cycle. Students pair up, show and tell each other about their wallets, ideate, and make a new solution that is "useful and meaningful" to their partner.

Wallet Project workbook
The worksheet packet (the paper sheets students work on)

[Print one-sided 11"x17", one per student]
Download file "TheWalletProjectB&W2012.pdf"
Wallet Project workbook for Facilitators
The facilitators guide (a step-by-step guide with talking points to run the activity)
[Print two-sided 8"x11" or 11"x17", one per facilitator]

        Editable Wallet Project

             Download file "TheWalletProjectMay2010editme.pdf"


The Gift-Giving Project - Design Project 0

Manual- Facilitators Guide: Redesign the Gift-Giving Experience

"The project you’re holding in your hands is an iteration on the’s iconic “Wallet Project.” The Wallet Project is an immersive activity meant to give participants a full cycle through the design thinking process in as short a time as possible. The project itself gives facilitators the opportunity to touch on the fundamental values of the—human-centered design, a bias towards action, and a culture of iteration and rapid prototyping—without attempting to communicate all of the methods and activities that the term “design thinking” encompasses."





D.School Web Curriculum Home page

"We feel that "Bias Toward Action" is a core principle or mindset of design thinking. In the most basic sense, it means that we promote action-oriented behavior, rather than discussion based work."


Manual: An Introduction to Design Thinking: Process Guide  (11 pg pdf)
Good First Overview: This eleven-page PDF from the Stanford overview of the process and the five phases.

Manual: Bootcamp Bootleg here.  (44 pg pdf) -  great overview
 Good Second Overview: This compilation is intended as an active toolkit to support your design thinking practice. The guide is not just to read – go out in the world and try these tools yourself.


Artefact Group -
     Designing for Empathy - A toolkit created by Artefact  - step by step
     Empathy: Design tool and outcome by Dave McColgin

"Why Empathy? As designers and researchers, we recognize that our work shapes experiences, behaviors, and systems, whether we do it deliberately or not. Most of us would like to use this power to create a positive impact. We believe that product, messaging, and service designs have the potential to contribute to a more empathetic society that is better able to face the scale of our shared problems. By applying the lens of empathy to our design process, we’ve been able to facilitate more innovative solutions This toolkit is designed to take you from the abstract idea of  positive impact through empathy to a concrete process that can be incorporated into your work."


Manual - Educators Toolkit click here to download. v2 (has 4 parts)
VIDEO: "Made for teachers who want to create innovative solutions for classrooms, schools and communities."
" This toolkit contains the process and methods of design along with the Designer’s Workbook, adapted specifically for the context of K-12 education.
 It offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing, and empowers educators to create impactful solutions."

  • Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit (81 pg pdf)

  • Designers workbook download (48 pg pdf)

  • Designers workbook download blank (48 pg  pdf)

  • Quick Start Guide (16 pg  pdf)

Manual - An Educator’s Guide to Design Thinking
       - Tips and strategies for bringing design thinking into the classroom
      - Applying design thinking mindsets at your school
      - 7 things you can do tomorrow to incorporate design thinking
      - K-12 Wiki information

from An Educator’s Guide to Design Thinking  pg 16


Manual - Social Enterprise: Human Centered Design ToolKit (200 pg pdf)
IDEO.ORG: The Human-Centered Design Toolkit was designed specifically for people, nonprofits, and social enterprises that work with low-income communities throughout the world. The HCD Toolkit walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building observation and empathy skills, prototyping, leading workshops, and implementing ideas." "It contains the elements to Human-Centered Design, a process used for decades to create new solutions for multi-national corporations. "

Manual Online: HCD process Methods - Work Outline
  "Your design team will work to develop empathy and connect emotionally with the people you are designing for, in order to understand the problems and realities of their lives. Ideally, your team will do research across many different groups of people and “walk in their shoes’’ before trying this method"

  • Encourage the team to connect both rationally and emotionally with people you are designing for. Try out their experience first hand. Feel, see, and hear as they would while going about this activity and day.

  • Remember your task is to understand and empathize with people, not to judge them, their behaviors or decisions. Cultural differences are important to recognize.

  • Make sure the team has spoken with enough people in the HEAR phase to develop empathy. If not, go back to the field and conduct more research"

OpenIDEO - University Toolkit (PDF 5 pages)

Welcome to OpenIDEO! We’re excited that you’re considering bringing OpenIDEO design challenges to your campus. This University Toolkit is here to guide you through the process of sharing OpenIDEO challenges with your campus. Read through it when you’re getting started, use it as a template when you’re looking for inspiration or refer to it as a guide when you need to get unstuck. No matter how you use it, we know you’ll enjoy being a part of such a collaborative, open and fun design and innovation process – so let’s get started!

How do you Design - A compendium of Models (147 pg PDF)
In this book, I have collected over one-hundred descriptionsof design and development processes, from architecture,
industrial design, mechanical engineering, quality management, and software development.

HPI School of Design Thinking Germany -  Video Introduction lecture
The HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam is the first school for innovation in Europe, which is designed according to the famous at the Stanford University. - Free Course - Workshop: Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation  ***
Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation Course Materials
"Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation is a five-week course that will introduce you to the concepts of human-centered design and help you use the design process to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. No prior design experience necessary.... The course is designed to be conducted over 5 weeks. However, we understand that some teams might move at a different pace. " (Join the Google+ Workshop Community - application request required)


1. introduction to human-centered design

2. design challenge part 1: discover

3. design challenge part 2: ideate

4. design challenge part 3: prototype

5. identifying additional challenges )

   Week 1 Readings (pdf pg 7)