GDE710 W5 | Workshop Challenge: Line Drawing


Applied Empathy

For my line drawing exercise, I chose to explore the Applied Empathy model by studio SubRosa and their founder, Michael Ventura, and author of the book, Applied Empathy. This process looks at seven different archetypes that we all embody - some more prevalent than others -- and how a greater understanding of these archetypes can inform how we generate ideas and solve problems.

applied empathy.png

I chose to do an abstract drawing and "take my line for a walk" like in the Paul Klee example from our lecture.

The seven archetypes outlined in Applied Empathy include:

Sage: Be present; inhabit the here and now

Inquirer: Question; interrogate assumed truths

Convener: Host; anticipate the needs of others

Alchemist: Experiment; test and learn at all costs

Confidant: Listen; summon the ability to observe and absorb

Seeker: Dare; be confident and fearless

Cultivator: Commit; nurture and intentionally grow

The idea is that by slipping into the personas of one or more of the Empathic Archetypes you can get out of the subjectivity of your own head, role, or organizational hierarchy, and get into the subjectivity of the other and ultimately be able to generate more effective ideas or approaches to solving problems.

I was inspired by the design used by the author that shows the interconnectivity of the seven archetypes as shown in the beautiful rose gold foil debossed packaging of their correlative Q&E Questions and Empathy: Provocations for Applied Empathy deck of cards.


In addition to Klee, I was also inspired by this seemingly continuous line piece by artist and screenprinter, John Knoerl. I loved the subtle form of the faces and thought this approach would work really well for how much humanity is involved with empathy and the process of Applied Empathy.


So, I set about creating my line drawing by first establishing the overall shape it was to inhabit and marking the boundaries for each of my archetypes:

line drawing applied empathy 1.jpg

I then practiced the basic pathways I wanted to use to create the abstract shape overall as well as each archetype’s individual symbologies:


After two attempts, I was able to land on this final piece (see below) using a continuous line approach. I chose symbols to represent each archetype as follows:

Sage: a Celtic symbol for wisdom

Inquirer: a looking glass

Convener: a candle

Alchemist: universal symbol for alchemy

Confidant: a key

Seeker: the four directions

Cultivator: a heart

Can you see them in my drawing?

line drawing applied empathy final.jpg


Ventura, M. P. (2019). Applied empathy: The new language of leadership. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

GDE710 W5 | Lecture Reflection


This week’s lecture kicks off our next phase of the course: PROCESS. We will be taking stock of our experience today and introduced to new methods of thinking and ideation.

Through the lecture we learn that there is not only a historical genesis of ideation starting back with the Bauhaus, but numerous ways to generate ideas and models of design process.


The Bauhaus design era rang in a prominent place not only in the design but also the global community as its methodologies were taken more seriously and seen as more scientific. The Bauhaus revolutionized design process methodologies by introducing multidisciplinary approaches to learning as shown in the diagram below.

Bauhaus visionaries such as Bruce Archer and Brian Lawson introduced additional design process that attempted to identify design best practice through linear methodologies seen below respectively:

The post-Bauhaus era of design introduces the idea that design processes are difficult to standardize and that non-linear, adaptable, flexible, and responsive design methods including loops and iteration allowed for time and various pathways to solve problems including the Six Hats and Double-Diamond design process



With the Six Hats approach, Edward de Bono proposes a method wherein all angles of a given problem at the same time are examined through six unique lenses or hats. No single view is to dominate the process. This provides opportunities to examine a problem and ideate on probable solutions ideally without single-channel or biased outcomes.

White Hat focuses on available data (facts and figures) while remaining neutral. Participants are encouraged to review existing information, search for gaps in knowledge, analyze past trends, and extrapolate key learnings from historical data.

Red Hat uses intuition, gut reaction, and robust emotion. Encourages participants to think about how other people will react emotionally and try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning. Participants do not need to explain or justify individual expressions of feelings.

Yellow Hat is a deliberate search for the positive (optimistic viewpoint) through exploration and speculation defining the benefits of the decision and the value in it. 

Green Hat stands for energy and creativity. This is where you generate new, innovative ideas and develop creative solutions to a problem. 

Blue Hat is process control “thinking about thinking”. This is the hat worn by people chairing or facilitating the session. Blue Hat focuses on questioning and provides the structure for use of other hats and other thinking and problem-solving tools. 

Black Hat is the basis of logical, critical thinking offering careful, cautious, and defensive insights. Try to see what is wrong; why it might not work; what are the dangers, problems, and obstacles; what are the deficiencies in the thinking process. It allows you to eliminate the negatives, alter plans, or prepare contingency plans to counter any problems.


The Double Diamond approach covers four major process areas: discover, define, develop, and deliver.

Discover is a period of divergent or expansive thought done at the start of a project. Perspectives are intentionally kept wide as questions are asked and problems are posed.

Define is the phase where information is interpreted, meaning is found, stories are articulated and opportunities are framed.

Develop is the refining phase where one or more concepts are honed to address the problem or issue.

Deliver is where the final concept is tested, approved, launched, and feedback is provided.

Evolve identifies a fifth phase which proposes that design is really completely final as the human experience is ever evolving, fluid, not fixed.


Kahneman’s text, Thinking Fast and Slow, explores the idea that our thinking is in two parts: fast and slow.

Fast thinking is instantaneous and automatic, instinctive and emotional, and a remnant from our evolutionary past.

Slow thinking is deliberate, effortful, complex, calculated, conscious, aware, and considerate. It is the newer portion of our thinking process coming online in the last few thousand years.

These two systems of thinking can be at odds and do not always work collaboratively.


The animated RSA video of Iain McGilchrist’s talk on The Divided Brain illustrates how the human brain’s left and right brains while are both required for thinking, are often in opposition. He summarizes the differences as, “the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, it yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere by contrast yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings in the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, never perfectly known.”

McGilchrist outlines a list of tensions that exist between right and left brain respectively:

  • The new vs. the known

  • Possibility vs. certainty

  • Flow vs. fixity

  • The whole vs. parts

  • Integration vs. division

  • Implicit vs. explicit

  • Context vs. abstraction

  • Qualification vs. quantification

  • Animate vs. inanimate

  • Realistic vs. optimistic

  • Presence vs. representation

It might then be that the division of the human brain is also the result of the need to bring to bear two incompatible types of attention on the world at the same time, one narrow, focused, and directed by our needs, and the other broad, open, and directed towards whatever else is going on in the world apart from ourselves.
— Iain McGilchrist

It was both a bit depressing and inspiring to be presented with the ending statement from McGilchrist by reading Einstein’s quote reflecting on our hemispheric brains, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We live in a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” 


The School of Life video, Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little, exposes the viewer to two habits of human thought: too much and too little.

Two much involves filling our brains and lives with so much information and thought that we don’t allow room for reflection, reality, emotion, and feeling.

Two little in opposition demands so little of thought that the inclination of knowing in and of itself is overwhelming and thus denying a true sense of self.

Seems like balance of thought and a willingness to recognize our capability of falling two keenly on one side or the other is to be human.


11 lessons: Managing design in global brands. (2017, November 03). Retrieved from

Cotton, J. (2019, March 08). Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little. Retrieved from

De Bono, E. (1999). Six Thinking HatsRevised Edition. Little, Brown and Co: London.

Kahneman, D. (2015). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

RSA, T. (2011, October 21). RSA ANIMATE: The Divided Brain. Retrieved from