At Sketch Group we’ve found the Empathy Forecast activity to be useful for years—it forms the foundation of all our sketch videos. It’s an easy group activity to run, and delivers valuable insights and targeted, useful language to use in website copy, presentations, sales material, or video call-to-action.
It’s also a wonderful way of getting clients, stakeholders, and team members collaborating, contributing, and thinking about a product or service from the target audience's perspective.
While the empathy map activity was originally developed by Dave Gray from XPLANE, the process of forecasting lets us capture a snapshot of where your target audience is at before a project, and then encourages the group to envision what is possible afterwards. Participants are then encouraged to find language that will bridge the gap between states, and bring about the desired change or impact.
In this way, you can explicitly encourage the group to ponder the potential for what is necessary to make your project a roaring success.
How to run an Empathy Forecast
Here are the steps to follow when facilitating an Empathy Forecast activity of your own, which can be done either in-person, or online using collaboration software like Mural or Miro.
That’s it! Once you’ve connected each Before and After section, photograph the completed Empathy Forecast, and share the images with participants after the meeting. There may be quite a lot of detail, so be sure to include close-ups of each section.
While this is no substitute for real data on how and what your target audiences think, feel, see, say, hear and do, an Empathy Forecast is a powerful tool for:
Go forth and forecast
The empathy forecast really is a powerful tool, regardless of the type of communication problem you're trying to solve, the industry you're in, or the audience you're trying to reach.
If you found this article useful and would like to learn how to run an Empathy Forecast in an online setting, be sure to sign up to our free online workshop, where we'll show you step by step how to run this workshop using remote tools. It's fun, free, and is guaranteed to transform your communication projects for the better.
Matt is Chief Doodler at Sketch Group. He has contributed to several books on visual thinking, most recently The World of Visual Facilitation.