Welcome to the rise of the empathic economy a trend that has surfaced in the last decade. Emphathy as a principle in design and business could be described like this; the product or service resonates with the person (note not consumer, person) emotionally, connects with their frustrations for example not being able to use a pepper grind due to arthritis, and more importantly the product cares about what they care about whether it be poverty, HIV/AID, environmental change, or marriage equality.
Here are three business and products that can be describes as emphatic models.
Launched at the end of January 2014, Roast Re:public is a very new and very different type of coffee roaster based in Gauteng.
The Re:public is the brainchild of Leandri, Jaco & Matt, a group brought together by a shared passion for coffee and a desire to make a difference. The idea is simple: make excellent coffee, sell it and use 50% of the gross profit to fund education for vulnerable children. They have partnered with World Vision International (WVI) a global NGO to ensure that the donated funds are put to good use.
For those with arthritis, the difficulty of working a manual pepper grinder means they have to use battery-operated ones, Bestwick's innovation was to design a manual grinder that can be operated without the user needing to form a grip: They hold the device between two palms and perform a hand-rubbing motion to create the action.
TOMS is a for-profit company based in California, The company designs and sells shoes based on the Argentine alpargata design as well as eyewear. Known as their ONE FOR ONE campaign, when Toms sells a pair of shoes, a pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries.
Doing good is good business. So when you decide to start your business perhaps stop and think how you can do good for the world and do good for your bank account.