Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. The discipline of product management is shifting from an external focus on the market, or an internal focus on technology, to an empathetic focus on people. Today’s product designers must strive to put themselves in the users’ shoes, as it were.
That’s the nutshell conclusion of last week’s IQPC seating conference, where most innovation centered around understanding occupant preferences—particular music, freedom to move, environmental light-treading, rear seat belt positioning, just to pick a few—which cover the whole spectrum of what is expectable. It doesn’t mean that core goals like safety and comfort should be abandoned, but they’ve became a given, and now successful product differentiation is derived from understanding customer preferences at an empathetic level. This edition of DVN-I has in-depth coverage of the most relevant topics presented at IQPC in Köln last week.
Before the Geneva motor show, to be presented in our next edition, the world tour of auto shows continues to turn, and we’ll give a glimpse of what was presented recently in Chicago and Dehli—important events, at least from a public attendance standpoint.
And this week’s Design Lounge takes a look at the state of VW design, and how the strong EV strategy is influencing it.
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