By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter
EMPATHY is now a major skill needed in growing an innovation mindset in an organization as it helps business leaders come up with better solutions, Google LLC’s Chief Innovation Evangelist Frederik G. Pferdt said.
“Empathy is the skill of the future, and practicing empathy every day as a business leader, for example, helps you understand what your employees need and what your immediate team actually needs right now, So, putting yourself into their situation, to really understand how they really think and feel, helps you come up with better solutions for your employees,” Mr. Pferdt said at a virtual forum on Jan. 29.
He noted that innovation is now in great demand due to the pandemic crisis.
“In the past, everyone wanted to innovate. Now, everyone needs to innovate. This pandemic allows everyone to do things differently and has been a key innovation accelerator for companies and individuals who are trying to not only survive the crisis, but finally move forward again,” he said.
Hence, business leaders should help their teams develop an innovation mindset, he said.
Aside from practicing empathy, it is important that business leaders are able to reframe challenges into opportunities, Mr. Pferdt noted.
“Reimagine tomorrow, today. How can or should tomorrow be different? What could a better world look like? Mindset matters!” he said.
“Small and big experiments lead to learning how the future could work,” he added.
He also said the power of rituals can be used in organizations to build a “sense of belonging and cohesion in times of distance.”
“Leaders need to identify values, craft powerful rituals, and foster a future-ready culture that’s prepared for the new normal. After all, you need trust and collaboration to establish a culture of innovation.”
Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends Report, an annual survey that charts the evolution of marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative and technology professionals, also identified empathy as the driver of experience.
“Empathy is an under-utilized differentiator that is accessible to all by combining their depth of customer and product knowledge and then demonstrating it at critical stages in the experience,” the report said.
“Understanding how people feel is an essential, but often an overlooked part of the experience. Analyzing and anticipating their reactions at decision points and during moments of friction will make the process work better for both sides,” it explained.