Blog 6: Introduction into Empathic Design

With only being able to attend Tuesday’s class during week 8, I still feel like a gained a lot out of it. We wrapped up with biomimicry section by learning about the business model canvas and how to utilize it by building our own with our learning communities! After Dr. Jayadas went over the parts of the business model canvas, I actually remembered I learned about it in my entrepreneurship class I took in the business college in the spring! It is cool to me to see classes intertwine with one another like that, especially the ones you wouldn’t expect to intertwine because they are in two different colleges! My learning community decided to base our business canvas model on a problem relating to our field of merchandising. We talked about the problem of how there is not enough greenery/nature in store environments, and our solution was a boutique called In the Ivy. In the Ivy is a store that constantly has greenery incorporated into the environment. We decided that we would team up with MOMA in NYC to get the nature and greenery pieces. MOMA has a plant exhibit where artists create pieces using nature or  pieces that are inspired by nature. When the museum is done with those pieces, they will donate it to us and we will display the work in our shop! Incorporating nature/greenery into stores create a more peaceful and less stressful environment for the shopper, which benefits both the shopper and store. Creating this business model canvas showed me all the important things to consider when creating a business/company, including the importance of applying sustainable concepts to the business. The business model canvas will definitely be a beneficial idea to remember in the future, especially if I decided to have my own business or store because it will be the first step I need to take in the creation of it.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend class on Thursday because I was in Seattle. My dad had to travel to Seattle to have a special surgery done on his shoulder, so my sister and I met him there to help him recover. But while I was in Washington, I noticed how far I have come in my own personal sustainable journey. I was aware of my recycling habits and had many conversations with my sister and my dad about the idea of living more sustainable. I also realized how much further advanced Washington is in creating a more sustainable environment than what Oklahoma is. I uploaded a few pictures of things I noticed or read while I was there that supported living sustainably and you can see them at the bottom of my blog! Through I was not able to be in class on Thursday, I still made sure to go over the slides about empathic design and watch the TED talks. The Paul Bennett TED talk was very eye opening and was a great intro into learning about empathic design. Instead of an organization looking from the outside, they need to look at it from the other way around. Organizations need to look through the eyes of their patients or customers to truly understand their needs. This is how empathic design works. The example they used of the patient in the hospital bed and how all the patient sees is the ceiling was definitely an important message. Adjusting even just the tiniest things about an environment to make your patient/customer feel more comfortable should be a main priority. If I were to design an environment to create a better shopping experience for a certain consumer, I would want to create a clothing store that caters to older individuals AND/OR any individuals that are handicapped. I would design the store to be easily shoppable for the customer without having to strain to reach up or bend down. I would also employ associates that would make sure to care for these types of customers with any need they may encounter. I would go about designing a store like this by making sure most products are eye level and reachable on tables and shelves. If I have to have products that are higher up or lower down, I will make sure they can be easily lowered or raised up by placing a button on the fixture that can be easily seen that the customer can press which will make the fixture move up or down in order for them to reach it without reaching or bending. I would also have many seating areas in the store because older individuals can easily tire from walking or standing. Many stores neglect to create an environment like this and I think it is important as future merchandisers that we address this problem moving forward into our careers.

Pictures from my Washington trip:

Mt. Rainier sign

I found this sign on a trail in Mount Rainier National Park. It discusses how nature reuses and recycles, which is a concept we learned when we talked about industrial ecology and the idea of a “closed loop” environment.

Portage Bay

We had breakfast at a place called Portage Bay, which was a restaurant that used sustainable practices and encouraged their customers and local community to do the same.

Nature downtown

My sister and I found this spot in the middle of downtown Seattle. This reminded me of the 14 patterns of Biophilic Design. I thought this was a great example of “nature in space” by incorporating a space with nature in between the many buildings in downtown.


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