1st Edition

Empathy and Business Transformation

Edited By Melanie Sarantou, Satu Miettinen Copyright 2023
    318 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Due to its potential transformative nature, empathy has increasingly received attention in business, psychology, neuroscience, education, medicine, social sciences and design, to mention only a few. During the last two decades, discussions about the role of empathy in design and creative research and practice have developed, with empathy perceived as a key instrument in human-centred design and design thinking. This book revisits the powerful concept of empathy in the new post-pandemic era in which ubiquitous digitalisation presents challenges to retaining human-centredness when developing products and services.

    The book presents a practical four-step approach to the challenges presented concerning how organisations can turn from merely feeling empathy with or for people, to actions of empathy and compassion that can be implemented with and by communities. A wide range of organisations and organisational settings can benefit from the presented case studies and research methods. Through them, the book explores how to discover, share and act with empathy and compassion in the new digitally driven post-pandemic era to innovate across a wide range of organisations, including for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and those in the public and third sectors.

    This edited volume will appeal to global researchers in the fields of product and service design and digital, social innovation, as well those interested in organisational development. The practical, interdisciplinary nature of the book and innovative four-step approach will also appeal to upper-level students.

    1 Introduction

    Melanie Sarantou and Satu Miettinen

    SECTION A The role of creativity and the arts in creating empathy: Step 1: Create connections for generating empathy

    2 ‘We really have quite a lot to say …’: Fostering agency of youth with asylum-seeking backgrounds by arts-based methods and dialogue as actions of empathy

    Enni Mikkonen and Katri Konttinen

    3 Encouraging empathy in creative tourism

    Tatiana Kravtsov, Maria Huhmarniemi and Outi Kugapi

    4 Empathy in digital participatory artworks

    Katja Juhola, Marija Griniuk and Smaranda-Sabina Moldovan

    5 Collaborative art and storytelling as an empowering tool for social design

    Daria Akimenko, Melanie Sarantou and Satu Miettinen

    SECTION B The role of stories in creating empathy: Step 2: Create emotional insights

    6 Building empathy in a digital business through Love and Break-up Letters

    Rosana Vasques, Mikko Koria and Maria Cecilia Loschiavo Dos Santos

    7 Comprehending the lenience on academic assessment regulations through university students’ emotional insights in Tanzania

    Albert Tibaijuka and Ludovick Myumbo

    8 Building trust with storytelling: Dialogues and encounters in the Arctic

    Caoimhe Isha Beaulé and Mari Viinikainen

    9 Imagine this! Storytelling, places and empathy

    Juha Iso-Aho, Nina Luostarinen and Pekka Vartiainen

    10 Telling the story: How arts-based methods can create space for empathy in students and teachers in the postcolonial university design context

    Michelle Olga van Wyk

    SECTION C The role of design in creating empathy: Step 3: Wayfinding and initiating action with beneficiaries

    11 Empathic perspective to understand people’s experiences in the service prototyping context in Chile

    Mira Alhonsuo and Mariluz Soto Hormazábal

    12 Benefits and challenges of designer empathy work in multidisciplinary collaboration

    Tarja Pääkkönen and Marina Bos-de Vos

    13 Towards a more empathic organization: An exploratory case study of a multinational manufacturing corporation

    Krista Korpikoski

    14 Design, empathy and autonomy: Reflections on theory and practice

    Bruna Montuori, Maria Luiza Viana, Rosana Vasques and Maria Cecilia Loschiavo Dos Santos

    15 Materiality as a mediator of empathy through culture-based product design for tourism

    Heidi Pietarinen, Eija Timonen and Melanie Sarantou

    SECTION D The role of technology in creating empathy: Step 4: Scaling up empathic action

    16 Human or nonhuman agent? Experiences of empathy in a digital customer tourism journey

    Päivi Hanni-Vaara

    17 Capitalising on empathic actions: Design principles of digitally transforming business processes

    Yangyang Zhao and Timothy K. Craig

    18 Empathy and delivery cyclists

    Eduardo Rumenig Souza, Luiz E. P. B. T. Dantas, Rosana Vasques, André Casanova Silveira and Maria Cecília Loschiavo dos Santos

    19 AI innovations, empathy and the law: A user-centric perspective on copyright and privacy

    Robert van den Hoven van Genderen, Rosa Maria Ballardini and Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci


    Melanie Sarantou is an adjunct professor in social design and senior researcher at the University of Lapland, investigating how arts and narrative practices impact marginalised women in communities in Namibia, Lapland, Russia and Australia. Her current research focuses on the role of arts in societies that exist on the margin of Europe in the European Commission-funded Horizon 2020 project titled ‘Action on the Margin: Arts as Social Sculpture’.

    Satu Miettinen is professor of Service Design at the University of Lapland, Finland, with research interests spanning the themes of design methods in engaging with the Arctic region, service design methods for inclusion, the participatory development of services and socially responsible art and design methods.