Once upon a time, before the jewish passover festival, a jewish man came to the rabbi and asked “Tell me, Rabbi, is it permissible to drink 4 cups of milk instead of the traditional 4 cups of wine that we drink at passover ? “.
The rabbi asked “Are you sick?”.
“No” answered the man, “I am healthy but wine this year is not for my pocket”.
The rabbi asks his wife to give 25 rubles coins to the man.
The man protests “I came to ask a question, not to seek a contribution”.
The rabbi says “This is a loan for the wine until God will help you, I wish you a happy Passover”.
After the man left, the Rabbi’s wife ask the rabbi “Why you gave 25 rubles? it costs only 2-3 rubles to fill the cups with wine.”
The rabbi replied “If the man was prepared for passover properly and set his table according to the tradition with meat, he would have not ask for permission for drinking milk since it is strictly forbidden to mix milk and meat. So I understood that this man doesn’t have the money for the wine and the meat as well, 25 rubbles will be enough for everything”.
How is this story related to one very important Design thinking principal?
Well, one DT principal in the research phase is empathy and acknowledgment that what people SAY ≠ DO ≠ FEEL ≠ THINK because life is complicated.
By asking the right questions to our users/stakeholders, we will get the real story. We need to have empathy in order to reach the “DO, FEEL and THINK” of our users/stakeholders. This mean trying to be in the shoes of our user, observing them, trying what they do, asking many times why?.
As a consequence this will lead to a more creative solution that will fit the needs.
Like this man that just said “Can we use milk instead of wine for passover” , he was feeling “ashamed” for thinking of asking help and he was just intending to do passover with only milk. The rabbi had empathy and understood the core of the problem and the man’s dilemma, the rabbi then gave a solution to the problem without hurting the feelings of this man.