We designed the Empathy Map at XPLANE many years ago, as part of a human-centered design toolkit we call Gamestorming. This particular tool helps teams develop deep, shared understanding and empathy for other people. People use it to help them improve customer experience, to navigate organizational politics, to design better work environments, and a host of other things.
Why update it?
I have seen a lot of versions of the Empathy Map since we created it so many years ago, and they vary widely. The Empathy Map was created with a pretty specific set of ideas and is designed as a framework to complement an exercise in developing empathy. While the success of the Empathy Map is exciting and makes us very happy, a lot of the thinking has gotten lost in translation over the years, and the various versions that have proliferated across the web have somewhat degraded the original concept.
More recently, I worked with Alex Osterwalder, designer of the Business Model Canvas, to develop a new tool for mapping organizational culture called the Culture Map, and in that process I learned a lot about canvas design.
So I decided to create a new version of the Empathy Mapping Canvas, applying what I learned from Alex to make the tool more usable and to deliver better experiences and outcomes.