Empathy Map

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Have your participants create an “empathy map” for their initiative, in order to find out more about their target group. Ask them to fill out a poster with the structure shown below. These questions will help them listen, empathize, and make careful observations. On the one hand, the Empathy Map can be helpful in defining topics and questions for a target group; on the other hand once we have answers, it is a good visual way to get the big picture of the social situation related to the project.

Time 1 hour+x

Material room, paper and pens

Group Size 5-25 people

Keywords empathy, creativity, design thinking


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M. Gawinek-Dagargulia, E. Skowron, N. Zimmermann

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  • Participants gain a knowledge of the target groups, audiences, and community members involved in an activity.
  • Participants gain analytical skills.
  • Participants improve their empathy.


1. Fill out the following matrix or use the original template by D. Grey/Xplane.

2. Reasoning:

  • What patterns, typical behaviors and attitudes, groups or opinions do you observe?
  • What is surprising? What is justifying your assumptions?
  • Prioritize: What aspect needs more attention, what less?
  • Where do you need more information?
  • What does that mean according your goals?
  • How does your methodology need to respond?
  • What does this mean according the acceptance of your activity?
  • What aspects do people find interesting and motivating in order to involve?

Empathy Map

1. What influence does the environment exert?
2. Who are people influenced by?
3. Which media are relevant?

1. What does the environment look like?
2. Who are allies of the group?
3. What oppor­tunities do they have?

Saying and doing
External World/­Social Interaction
1. What do other people say about them?
2. How do they behave?
3. What are their hobbies?

1. What do people want to achieve?
2. How do they measure success?
3. How can they reach their goals?
4. What do they need in order to participate?

Thinking and feeling
1. What is important to the people, to whom am I addressing my initiative?
2. What are their hopes and dreams?
3. What moves them?

1. What frustrates people in the target group?
2. What hurdles do they have to overcome?
3. What risks are they taking?
4. What prevents them from participating?


  • Dig deeper with the task: Designing a persona
  • Include the people representing the observed groups, behavior, habits and check your assumptions.


Eliza Skowron


Co-founder Working Between Cultures, born in Poland, studies at Jagielloian UniversityKraków (Polen). Facilitator and expert for constructive communication, Anti-Bias, train-the-trainer, author in Competendo.