Empathy-Driven Innovation: Analysis of Five User-Centered Design Thinking Case Studies

Ellya Zulaikha*, Dita Andansari, Hertina Susandari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Design Thinking (DT) is widely used to drive innovation in companies. DT consists of five phases: empathy, define, ideation, prototype, and test. However, companies often skip the empathy process and go directly to the ideation phase. It is because empathy cannot immediately solve problems, is time- and resource-consuming, and is hindered by the cognitive bias that companies believe they already know what users or customers want. This article presents the process of empathy in five cases of Design Thinking (DT) projects in Indonesia carried out by postgraduate students who have worked in the companies for years. The projects discussed are a bank's marketing plan for ultra-micro entrepreneurs, the development of an online community platform by a software development company, the creation of tourist attractions in a forest area by the government tourism agency, the creation of an online ecosystem for the footwear industry by the government, and the development of a digital e-contract by a state-owned enterprise. We conducted a comparative case study analysis to examine the empathy process in meeting user needs and achieving innovation in these projects. This article argues that optimizing the empathic process in DT can lead to innovation. However, this empathic phase should continue through the ideation, prototyping, and testing phases. An individual who works in a company can initiate and carry out this empathy process. Nevertheless, the following phases require the support and involvement of all stakeholders in the company.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsian HCI Symposium 2023, Asian CHI 2023 - Proceedings
EditorsEunice Sari, Eunice Sari, Masitah Ghazali, Adi B. Tedjasaputra
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9798400707612
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023
Event9th Asian HCI Symposium, Asian CHI 2023 - Virtual, Online, Indonesia
Duration: 28 Apr 2023 → …

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference9th Asian HCI Symposium, Asian CHI 2023
CityVirtual, Online
Period28/04/23 → …


  • Design Thinking
  • Empathy
  • Innovation
  • Persona
  • User needs


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