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Chasing InnovationMaking Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India$
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Lilly Irani

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175140

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175140.001.0001

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Seeing Like an Entrepreneur, Feeling Out Opportunity

Seeing Like an Entrepreneur, Feeling Out Opportunity

(p.141) 6 Seeing Like an Entrepreneur, Feeling Out Opportunity
Chasing Innovation

Lilly Irani

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how “human-centered design” (HCD)—a form of ethnographically guided, experimental design practice branded in Silicon Valley—operationalizes empathy to guide entrepreneurial actors toward opportunity to transform the world “at scale.” Both empathy and opportunity were key ways that enterprising people oriented toward the world they hoped to transform. Empathy promised to guide development along the grain of the masses' developmental desires rather than against them. As part of design, it became a model for understanding not just one person but many people. Design-minded citizens needed to mingle among targets of development and hypothesize vectors of mass affect that suggested areas of opportunity surfaced risks to development projects. Capitalism's reformers proposed empathy as the moral sentiment that could, at once, uncover others' wants while steering away from capitalism's excesses. Empathy guided speculation to refine the perception of opportunity.

Keywords:   human-centered design, empathy, entrepreneurial actors, opportunity, enterprising people, development projects, capitalism

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