Maybe it’s the industry I’m in, or maybe it’s my age, but the past year I’ve really been searching for purpose in my work.
You see, my designs don’t help feed the poor or cure cancer (although we at IBM are trying!), so many times I stop and wonder what “Noble Purpose” my work has on my fellow humans around me.
…and then I participated in IBM Design Thinking.
…and found a way to have empathy for my users.
It’s really simple: Create an empathy map.
We identified who are user was, drew 4 quadrants on the wall and simply asked ourselves, “What is Satish saying, doing, thinking, and feeling?”
The doing and saying and even thinking was nothing new…but writing what he was feeling and adding it to a sticky on the wall…I could finally start seeing my purpose.
You see, Satish works really hard. But he feels trapped in his work because he’s always reacting to data center emergencies. Now he’s getting pressure to add new services and to be quite honest, he’s scared. He’s scared of failing, of getting it wrong, of not being valued by his boss, his team. If he only had software that could guide him, educate him, and help him deliver these solutions with ease and speed…without messing up, he would instead feel confident, valued, content, and even happy.
In one day I learned that the work I do does have purpose…I can change a person’s outlook on life…and in turn possibly how he reacts to his kids, his wife, his friends. My designs can save him time…time he can spend playing music, playing with his pup.
No, my designs might not cure cancer (yet), but my designs can help Satish have a better life.
…and that’s a pretty noble purpose.