Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Design Thinking: Missing Empathy for the "Silence Majority"

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As a general rule, I don't normally blog on the politics & elections (let alone another country's election). Last night, as exhausted as I was, staying up past 1:00 am following the US presidential results, I was utterly captivated and enthralled.

On one website ( they predicted a big Clinton win: 322 vs 216. In the end it was Trump win: 289 vs. 218. They got it wrong. $millions and thousands of pollsters.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but reflecting I believe this (and other recent world events like Brexit) have taught me:

#1 - Go Wide, and then Go Wider again.

Simply looking at celebrity endorsements or analyst reviews Clinton should have won. Trump party dissenters ignored or didn't believe in #SilentMajority (
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The final results were almost 60 million US citizens voted for Trump (almost 19% of total pop.). How much of that 60 million was adequately interview and understood?

#2 - Louder isn't Better. Louder isn't Right.

Look aingt Twitter before, during and after it's hard to see how Trump won. Trending hashtags #HesNotMyPresidentlike ( and #Trumpocalypse( are still lamenting his win today.
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But louder doesn't win elections. Smart comments doesn't win elections. Money doesn't win elections (Trump spent less than half of what Clinton did).

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Majority does. Clinton might have won the Twitter war, but Trump won the election.

#3 - Technology without Empathy is just Technology.

I work a technology company. I am in a technical role. I believe deeply in technology. However the take away I will remind myself is:
"Technology without empathy is flawed. It's just technology." - Wayne Pau
Today's pollsters have more tools than any other election before us. Yet they couldn't have been more wrong, even losing to a monkey ( Garbage in, garbage out. #CloudComputer #BigData #MachineLearning are great, but they needs good inputs, good data.
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How did everyone get it so wrong? Simply put they lacked Empathy for the User. They failed to identify a huge number of US citizens who were tired of the status quo and wanted change, massive change. But this time it was not just change in Republican vs. Democrat, but lifetime Politician vs. Outsider.

A cynic could say although many voters disliked Trump and his message, many voters (still) feared and disliked Clinton more. Which is ironic for a campaign that seemed founded on inclusion and diversity. 50% of the voters did not 'feel' included or well represented with Hillary Clinton.

We shall see what the next 4 years brings. (Maybe Russia & US relations might be healed: However as a Design Thinking coach, I think I've learned to never underestimate the need for Empathy. Technology in and of itself is not enough.

Hope that helps...

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