Internet of Empathy


Digital Empathy

The world is being transformed by new technologies changing the “Value for Life”. Game-changing innovation has become the norm. Last 12 months have brought a series of exciting technological breakthroughs from self-driving Tesla cars on roads to augmented reality taking on mainstream with the success of Pokémon Go. The pace of Digital transformation initiatives is just mindboggling.

I believe “Democratization” of technology is shifting value from traditional players to digital insurgents and putting the consumer in the driver’s seat. Consumers are making companies work harder to earn their money. The recent launch of Reliance Jio in India created big buzz with more than 100 million subscribers in less than 180 days is good example of hyper growth. Internet has emerged as largest marketplace. Today, companies are more than ever, connected to their customers only using digital channels. Empathy to humanize their brands is key to ultimate customer experience. Feeling what your customer feels and create actionable personalized digital experience can be defined as “Internet of Empathy”.

The value of Empathy

I believe “Empathy First” is key for every successful “Digitalization” strategy. Great customer experience can’t always deliver solutions, but it can always deliver empathy. There is a direct link between empathy and commercial success. There are already scorecards “Empathy Index” just like Net promoter score (NPS). Though the concept of empathy might contradict the modern concept of a traditional workplace — competitive, cutthroat, and with employees climbing over each other to reach the top — the reality is that for business leaders to experience success, they need to not just see or hear the activity around them, but also relate to the people they serve. Again, in Reliance JIO case only time will tell how emotionally connected customer base they have?

The new weapon to capture “Empathy” is “Design Thinking”. Every other organization is gung ho on reskilling their staff on “Design thinking” concept. For me it’s simple, extremely collaborative, non-threatening & feel good approach. Too, early for me to comment on effectiveness, stay tuned.

Gamification of Empathy

So, how do you do it? How do you find out what other people are feeling? All you have to go on are what they say, how they say it and what they do, which can also be described as “Experiences”. To experience someone you have to be emotionally connected. Converting emotions into actionable result is empowering. Ultimately, every user wants to be empowered to take decisions imparting trust and confidence.

The big opportunity I see is need for emotional protocol to communicate and capture emotional richness over Internet creating an empathy-enabling environment.

Just reading quality fiction & storytelling has its limitations to “detect and understand other people’s emotions”. Also, storytelling does not automatically generate empathy. Human emotions to really get flowing, readers must be transported into a real life experience. Capturing every stakeholders input in today’s global ecosystem is mission impossible e.g. within India “F” for “FAN” in Leh has no relevance based on their demography. Experience is the only way to gain the emotional connect.

I am confident that with the help of augmented reality & Analytics it’s possible to put data in a gamified environment to capture emotions and associated digital action. The result will be definitely enriching than Oil!

I totally agree with Dr. Parag Mankeekar’s founder of Reallives tagline that “there is nothing more urgent than empathy”.