Harnessing Empathy To Scale A Healthtech Startup During The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study Of myICUvoice, A Communication Tool Designed For Critical Care

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This case study explores the scaling experience of an early-stage healthtech startup company called myICUvoice. During the Covid-19 pandemic, myICUvoice rapidly scaled from a single intensive care environment to being widely used nationally (UK) as well as globally. We explore why and how so many volunteers were motivated to donate their time and expertise to help scale this early stage startup. Specifically, we examine the roles that empathy played throughout the scaling process. There are three distinct types of empathy that we have identified in our story: em-pathos, empathetic understanding, and mass-empathy. These each had a distinct role in driving the startup forward. Importantly, we note that human-centered design (which often focuses almost exclusively on achieving empathetic understanding) will immensely benefit from considering the multiple types, and multi-faceted powers, of empathy.

Keywords: empathy, pandemic, startup, sustainable innovation, healthcare, volunteers, software

Article citation: 2020 EPIC Proceedings pp 220–242, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic

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