Design Thinking: Putting Empathy to Work

September 19, 2014
Hosted by Carol Bossert

[Download MP3] [itunes] [Bookmark Episode]

Guest Information

Episode Description

Whether developing a product, web site or exhibit, good design begins with understanding the intended audience. Yet too often the audience discussion remains at a superficial level, identifying audiences by age, children, adults, relationship, families or geography, local, tourist. Design thinking—a phrase currently used to describe an approach to foster creativity and problem-solving—emphasizes the importance of empathy to “walk in someone else’s shoes,” brainstorming to spur creativity and rapid prototyping to test ideas. Dana Mitroff Silvers uses design thinking to help cultural institutions develop strategies to engage audiences, especially through digital technologies. Join our conversation this week as Dana and I discuss the traps that many institutions fall into in terms of using digital technologies and how they can avoid them.

The Museum Life

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel

Museums attract millions of visitors and employ thousands. The Museum Life, hosted by Carol Bossert, charts the growth and development of this cultural business. Museum Life showcases leaders in the field who provide perspective on current issue as well as creative thinkers who are impacting the future of museums.

Carol Bossert

Carol Bossert loves museums. She has spent her career working in and for these important cultural organizations that include traditional collection-based museums, science centers, national parks and visitor centers.

In addition to hosting Museum Life, Carol Bossert maintains an active consulting practice to help cultural institutions, government agencies and corporations engage with their communities through exhibitions and place-based experiences. Her clients include Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service, Great Lakes Science Center, International Spy Museum, North Carolina Museum of Natural History, and international clients in China, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Learn more at

Carol Bossert holds a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Texas-Dallas and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Zoology from DePauw University. She is a graduate of the J. Paul Getty Museum Management Institute and has served professional organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums and National Science Foundation. She is also a member of The Museum Group, an organization of senior professionals in museum practice and Praxis Museum Exhibit Group.

She blogs about museum and civic issues

This site is protected by Trustwave's Trusted Commerce program