Deconstructing the Process to Empathy and Design

Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, with Timeless Kitchen Design

Recovered from travel and as the rain falls here in the Seattle, I have been digesting our experiences at the Monogram Design Summit. As I said in my Empathy blog prior to the event there are indeed amendments to my thoughts.

The most surprising piece of the puzzle from the summit was . . . Deconstruction.


Sketch by Paula

Our facilitators Sunni and Jessi were taking us through a process that I was struggling with and I was fighting the process internally. It felt slow and awkward and unproductive. I wanted desperately to jump to the end and solve the problem, jump to the answers I thought I already knew! I was stuck.

Then on break we got to roam freely through the Speed Museum. I was drawn to this art, below, because of the colors (for those of you who know me that is no surprise) but then I got closer and saw the title of the art, “Deconstructing Piero (pink).” Suddenly the pin of resistance (ego and control) jogged loose and allowed the pieces of the puzzle to fall neatly into place on several different levels.


Deconstructing Piero by Michael Craig-Martin on display at the Louisville Speed Museum

Approaching any project, or listening to someone, through the process of deconstruction is like trying to learn a new language Which is messy and uncomfortable, but it rewires our brain and helps us during the creative process to literally knock us out of the box.

The magic happens in the messy authentic place of life.

There are upper level surface solutions, and then at a much deeper level there is Authentic Design and Authentic Empathy.

Don’t quit before the magic happens. The beauty is in the struggle, in and through the discomfort, the imperfect jumble of learning to listen deeply and design authentically.


Sketch by Paula

What is Deconstruction? In case that wasn’t clear . . . It’s about really zeroing in on what doesn’t work, talking about it, what is it about it that makes it not work. This is your research phase. Most of us don’t spend near enough time here with our clients designing or in listening to understand each other. Jumping to solutions too quickly denies the deeper revelations into what the REAL issues are. This phase slows us down because we have to work at it, it causes us to have to be more present. Both of which are necessary for Authentic Design and Authentic Empathy.

What truly better way to get there than through the deconstruction of the barriers, of the egos, of the preconceived ideas, of our attachment to being right or thinking we know all the answers.

Thank you Monogram for choosing to inspire us to be better!

Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPP Timeless Kitchen Design COPYWRITE 2017 ©

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