Chapter events - United States

Design is changing. Designers are increasingly being invited to contribute to larger conversations and reimagine the systems that govern our everyday lives—government, healthcare, financial services, etc. It's exciting. It's also mind-boggling.

As we do this, we have been noticing a pattern. Much of the mainstream thinking, frameworks and methodologies in design prioritize the needs of one user group—the end users. Why? What about all the other people—those behind the scenes, those having to make operational or financial decisions? Why don’t we empathize with them in the same way we empathize with our users?

That’s where systems-wide empathy comes in. The radical act of extending the same amount of empathy as we do to the users to everyone else in the system, and recognizing that everyone is fighting their own battles and has their own challenges.

In this workshop, you'll experience the following:

(1) Making systems visible.

Systems are abstract and invisible by nature. Through storytelling and embodiment, we will create a tangible representation of a system to articulate how complex and messy they can be.

(2) Humanizing the people behind the roles & job titles

It can be a default for many of us to group people by their roles. In healthcare, we often talk about nurses, doctors, office assistants in groups rather than individuals. But they are people too. In this part of the workshop, we will humanize these roles and glimpse into their daily realities, barriers, and challenges.

(3) Pause for reflection.

We think practicing systems-wide empathy requires a mindset shift, and that starts with more conversations, discussions and reflections. After going through this, whose perspective do you think you can amplify in your next project? We'll leave you with some takeaways to remember your learnings and apply it to your work.

Ankita and Javi are Design Strategists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They are excited about the direction in which design is headed, and are constantly reflecting on ways in which design can contribute to improve the human experiences within the systems that surround us.

Find Ankita and Javi on LinkedIn!

Ankita Roy:

Javiera Arenas:

General itinerary —

6:00 pm ~ 6:30 pm Grab a Bite (pizza provided) & Network

6:30 pm ~ 8:15 pm Illuminating Invisible Systems with Ankita & Javi

8:15 pm ~ 8:30 pm Wrap Up, Continued Networking