From Empathy Mapping to Practical Innovation

Do you know what you need to change right now in order to transform your organization? Is it expanding or focusing your geographic reach? Is it developing digital tools for your staff to have more efficient impact? Is it inviting your community to co-design your work, or telling more personal impact stories?

We’re inspired by this saying, attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Our session will explore empathetic methods to unearth practical innovations that can refine your vision and advance your organization’s mission and work. We’ll look at methods to gather data for more clarity on decision making. We’ll show ways you can create prototypes to test with end users. We’ll explore how to use the results of those tests to motivate funders, leadership, and teams. We’ll explain how to turn those prototypes into mature programs, in the context of both established and startup nonprofits.

You’ll leave our session with specific ideas on how to lead your organization in transforming your products, processes, and services through practical innovation design.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to apply the four drivers of innovation—strategy, analysis, logistics, and culture—to your product, process, and service design
  • Learn how to use qualitative and quantitative data and research methods for empathy mapping and user journey modeling
  • Learn how to motivate leadership and attract funders with results from rapid prototyping


Graziella Jackson
Echo & Co.
Graziella Jackson is Echo & Co.’s CEO and Managing Director, helping clients solve customer engagement challenges at the intersection of business strategy, behavioral science, digital content, and experience design. Graziella is a native Washingtonian. After completing undergraduate studies in journalism at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., she worked as a newspaper editor then a new media strategist for community-based nonprofits and arts organizations in the D.C. region. She completed graduate studies at Georgetown University in communication, culture, and technology and began working as a content and user experience strategist, working with non-profit, media, and federal government clients in publishing, higher education, financial literacy, mental health, performing arts, youth development, immigration and immigrant rights, philanthropy, and environmental advocacy. She also designed user experience and content strategies for brands including Volkswagen, NASDAQ, and Rosetta Stone. With more than a decade of experience in content strategy and user experience, Graziella is a curious and passionate user advocate and loves creating experiences that remove barriers and help users become more informed citizens and engage more meaningfully with the causes they care for and trust.

Tucker Wannamaker

Sushil Muzumdar
Third I Inc
Sushil leads the technology strategy for Third I, a data analytics consultancy. He has over 15 years of experience in architecting, developing, and integrating complex transactional and analytical systems. Sushil has also been the lead software architect involved in designing and building a suite of industry-specific analytics solutions on multiple web and mobile platforms for Third I.

Bill Brown
Echo & Co.
Bill is a web designer and front-end developer with a passion for pattern libraries, prototyping, and making stuff. He works remotely for a digital company called Echo&Co from New Orleans, and teaches evening classes in both UX and web design with Tech Talent South. He likes to walk around Bayou St. John with a beer and his 8th month-old strapped to his chest, spend hours/days/months making costumes for Mardi Gras, and maintains a website about shaking your face real fast and taking pictures of it [http://jowlers.com/].

Stacie Sheldon
Echo & Co.
Stacie Sheldon is director of brand and user experience at Echo&Co, where she leads the UX practice. Stacie is passionate about advocating for users, applying best practices and research to UX solutions, and believes in experience design as a powerful force for good. With more than 22 years of experience in diverse sectors such as nonprofit, government, health media and automotive she has worked with clients such as Ford Motor Company, Johnson Controls, the Greening of Detroit, WDET Radio, Ceridian, The University of Michigan Health Media Lab, 1-800-Flowers, Eddie Bauer, Godiva, and The Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Stacie has a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Theory from Michigan State University and gets herself in trouble all the time staying up too late reading. Originally from “up north” in Michigan, Stacie is Ojibwe (Chippewa) and is passionate about preserving the Ojibwe language. In 2006 she co-created www.Ojibwe.net, a website that seeks to connect language teachers and learners. Additionally, she is a co-founder of an American Indian women’s hand drum group called Miskwaasining Nagamojig. The group sings songs in Ojibwe to advocate for the language through song. Stacie serves on the Board of Directors of American Indian Services in Detroit, Michigan.