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Seung Chan Lim

Seung Chan (Slim) believes people who are in empathic relationships not only have lives that are more healthy & meaningful, but also more creative & effective. As an executive coach & meta-designer, he helps executives (re)design their leadership & organization: a process that challenges them to develop such relationships not only with their team & customers, but also themselves.

Slim has spent 18 years exploring the role of design & empathy in innovation. He has spoken at Harvard Business School, Cornell Johnson School of Management, McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management, Rotman School of Management, SAP TechEd, FUSE, and TEDx. He has also authored an award-winning book titled “Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making.” Slim’s past clients include American Eagle, Eaton, General Electric, Merill Lynch, Siemens, and Whirlpool. Innovation efforts he’s partaken have won awards such as the CES innovation award.

Slim’s journey started with helping fortune 500 companies innovate. From this experience, he learned that companies struggling to innovate have to overcome their unawareness & bias toward their customers before they can innovate. The muscle required to do so? Empathy.

Slim then conducted anthropological research on how artists innovate. From this experience, he learned that visual & performing artists struggling to innovate have to overcome their unawareness & bias toward themselves, their subject matters, or their materials before they can innovate. The muscle required to do so? Empathy.

Slim now helps CEOs develop a culture of innovation. From this experience, he sees that CEOs are like artists: mired in so much uncertainty and complexity that it’s no wonder they feel lonely, isolated, and anxious. So Slim helps them manage or overcome the unawareness & bias underlying such uncertainty, complexity, loneliness, isolation, and anxiety. Why? So they can more effectively lead their organization through growth & innovation. How? By helping them develop the muscle required to do so. Empathy.

A thoughtful examination of empathy in life and in the context of design reveals that empathy is not merely about receiving, but also about giving.

Article by Seung Chan Lim
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10 min read

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