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Michael Ventura, Sub ...
Michael Ventura, Sub Rosa's founder and CEO, recognized a deficit in the way empathy was discussed and practiced in agency culture.
"So many of the articles that we read and see out in the world are very theoretical when they talk about empathy," Ventura
"It's fun to have the 'wouldn't it be cool if,' type conversations," Ventura
said, "[But] you can't blue sky something if you don't have a perspective.
credits their sustained success with a strategic framework developed to objectively employ empathic reasoning on their clients' projects.
Centered around asking the right questions prior to writing the initial brief, the three-pronged process aims to help the agency develop a deep understanding of what a client wants to solve for or accomplish.
"The way we look at problem solving is really across these three buckets - company, consumer, and context," Ventura
1) Consider the Company's Structure and Culture
To begin to understand where their client is coming from, Ventura
team ask questions that reveal a client's cultural challenges and potential structural hurdles in their business model.
Is their culture set up to support their objectives?
What are their current strengths and weaknesses?
Do they have the right team in place?
The goal here, Ventura
explained, is "getting out of our own perceptions and getting into [the client's] vantage - really understanding from the client side: what do they have that's going to help achieve this and where their deficiencies exist."
"Whatever it might be," Ventura
team is focused on "getting ourselves empathically into the eyes and the minds and the hearts of the consumer, and looking outward from them to see the rest of the problem."
3) Consider the Greater Context
According to Ventura
, it's not enough to simply make something that people want to buy.
"You can have a business that has a good product and a customer who wants to buy it, but if they ignore the context, they're missing a very important third leg of the stool," he
To underscore the importance of grounding your work in a real-world context, Ventura
likes to use the now-defunct SUV company Hummer as an example.
Back in 2008, Hummers
were one of the most popular cars on the road.
"There was a company who thought that big, aggressive, gas-guzzling vehicles were something to make and something someone would want," Ventura
"Low and behold, they were right.
There were a certain group of people who thought that car was great."
Despite their initially enthusiastic niche, Hummer's
business plan had a major flaw: They ignored the rising eco-consciousness of the world and the impending gas and financial crises.
goes out of business," Ventura
"For some people, they're an optimistic problem solver," Ventura
"The development of those archetypes was a way for us to almost create a scenario where we can play outside of our own biases or proclivities and actually work through problem solving with a different hat on," Ventura
"That type of process has allowed our organization to really learn a lot about ourselves as individuals who work and solve problems because we can understand where we most often land in those archetypes."
As a starting point to figuring out which archetype you default to, ask yourself:Which of these archetypes am I more naturally inclined to?
Which ones feel less natural?
explained there is immense value in knowing where you currently stand: "If someone was very inclined to be an explorer - which is about being daring, being confident, unafraid to take risks - and they are not very naturally inclined to be a sage - which is about really listening before speaking, absorbing information - one might actually force himself into the sage archetype more regularly so that they can have a bit more empathy for a problem from all sides."
Discussing empathy isn't always easy - particularly with your colleagues - but these archetypes provide a straightforward and common language for talking about the usually abstract topic.
"We all speak the same language," Ventura
Michael Ventura Founder ...
Michael Ventura Founder Sub Rosa
News | AAF Baton Rouge | Page 2
January Luncheon "Designing with Empathy" by Michael Ventura founder of Sub Rosa
DESIGNING WITH EMPATHY A conversation with Michael Ventura, founder of New York-based strategy and design studio Sub Rosa.
12 AugMan Of The Week - ...
12 AugMan Of The Week - Michael Ventura
Michael Ventura is a Man of many talents and gifts, from being an award-winning entrepreneur and creative director, to a healing practitioner forming strategies for Fortune 100 companies, and now currently serving as a Adjunct Professor teaching Empathic Design at Princeton University.
In 2004, Michael founded Sub Rosa, a strategy...
Aerva Wins DOOH Award from MediaPost - Aerva, Inc.
Founder & CEO, Sub Rosa