20th May 2014
Is there a Maths department in your company?
No? Why is that? You need people who can do maths in your company right?
A reasonable level of maths is required when hiring, so why is it the same expectation isn't there for empathy?
With the advent of our economy become more services led, rather than producing things that are bought & sold at a profit (profit that is calculated), I'd argue that empathy is becoming a lot like maths, a prerequisite for employees, if not even more important..
Most often I work with Visual Designers, Product Managers, Developers, and Project Managers. Smart People. There is not one the things I do that these people don't have the ability to do given some training. With some of the individuals I work with I find there is considerable overlap of expertise. What's lacking is the oversight - pulling it together - which is why I'm there.. but then, this sounds like a project manager's remit too :)
At risk of putting myself out of a job, I'd propose that if, if a UXer did their job well, and a culture of empathy was successfully embedded, it is unlikely that a UX function would even be required. I think this is highly dependent on the Management though of course, you can work in a company for years trying to achieve the holy grail of embedding empathy, but if the Management aren't truly on board, it will never happen. But if you are the owner of a services based company right now, I'd make sure I started putting ‘Empathy for the customer' on every job description.