Empathy Map

Empathy Map

The empathy map play helps a team develop experience-centered insights into specific kinds of stakeholders. Empathy maps are most useful when created about a specific persona. The concept for the empathy map was originally created by Dave Gray, and it has become a popular tool in the worlds of Agile Management and Design Thinking.

Empathizing with your stakeholders by imagining what they think, see, hear, and do
Step 1: Choose a Stakeholder and Interaction

Choose a specific persona (if you have one) or a stakeholder from a stakeholder list (such as you make in Ladder Up). Empathy Maps are most useful when they focus on a single type of stakeholder.

You should also choose a specific interaction with this stakeholder for this play. If there are multiple interactions your team wants to explore, you should fill out a separate empathy map for each one.

post it notes
Step 2: Diverge

Use a tool like Post-Up to generate a divergent list of ideas for each category of the empathy map. The categories are:

  • What does the stakeholder THINK and FEEL?
  • What does the stakeholder SEE?
  • What does the stakeholder HEAR?
  • What does the stakeholder SAY or DO?
  • What are the OPPORTUNITIES this stakeholder is seeking?
  • What OBSTACLES are getting in the stakeholder’s way?
Step 3: Converge and record ideas

For each category, select the ideas the group thinks matter most and record them on the Empathy Map chart. It may be helpful to use a Converge play to do this, such as Cloud Grouping or the Five Finger Test.