Applied empathy: A prerequisite for healthy and energy-efficient indoor air value delivery

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, July 2021, Volume 4, #120

[Cite as: Fadeyi M (2021). Applied empathy: A prerequisite for healthy and energy-efficient indoor air value delivery. Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, July 2021, Volume 4, #120.]

Occupants of a building with poor air quality or a non-ventilated building are vulnerable to being exposed to the virus causing COVID-19 if someone infected with the virus is in the building. The virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2).

While preventing someone with COVID-19 from occupying a building and other indoor environments is the best way to prevent occupants from being infected, it obviously cannot be guaranteed. Thus, the creation of buildings that are well ventilated and have the capability for healthy indoor air delivery is essential.

A non-healthy building with poor indoor air quality will make its occupants experience discomfort and inconvenience. Discomfort is the pain someone feels to their wellbeing when doing or experiencing something. Discomfort could be physiological, psychological, social, or economic in nature.

Inconvenience is the pain or difficulty involved in doing something. Ignorance, which is the lack of knowledge on the real-time status of indoor air quality and what should be done to improve it, is also a characteristic of a non-healthy building.

Building owners and professionals should have empathy aside from their technical capabilities to prevent occupants from experiencing discomfort, inconvenience, and ignorance in the building they occupied. Discomfort, inconvenience, and ignorance can collectively be referred to as pain consciously or unconsciously experienced by consumers of goods or processes produced or service delivered. Occupants also have a role to play to prevent the pain.

Empathy is the thinking and feeling of the pain that is experienced, being experienced, or could be experienced. The application of empathy is applied empathy. Having empathy is not enough. It has to be applied to reduce, mitigate, or preferably prevent pain.

In the context of this article, the application of empathy can be used to uncover avenues for the pain to all stakeholders, especially occupants, involved in the delivered indoor air quality and guide efforts needed to prevent the pain. Empathy is the first stage of design thinking used in solving a problem.

Empathy, which should be applied to assess a situation before it occurs, when occurring, and after it occurred, is not just a starting point of design thinking. Empathy should also be applied to inform how a problem is defined and how ideation, prototyping, and testing are done.

A problem is a gap in performance between current and future or expected performance levels. As part of the problem definition process, empathy should also be used to identify the causes or factors contributing to the defined problem.

The identified causes or contributing factors to the defined problem should be used to guide the generation of ideas, i.e., ideation of solutions that can be used to eliminate or reduce the causes or factors. Empathy should also be the “eyes” through which ideated solutions are assessed for their potential effectiveness. The applied empathy should enhance value delivery.

So, what is value delivery? As previously shared in this journal, value is the ratio of usefulness to invested resources. The level of usefulness delivered is determined by the level of comfort, convenience, and awareness provided by goods or processes produced or service delivered. Thus, avoidance of pain from goods or processes produced or service delivered is the usefulness. Invested resources are the comfort, convenience, or awareness sacrificed to produce the goods or processes or deliver the service.

Applied empathy helps to optimise usefulness delivered from necessary resources invested (sacrificed). Lack of applied empathy would cause resources to be sacrificed with little or no usefulness delivered, or resources not sacrificed, leading to no usefulness delivered.

In the context of this article, usefulness delivered to all stakeholders involved can be in the form of low concentrations of indoor air pollutants, high work performance and productivity, and physiological, psychological, social, economic acceptability of, satisfaction with, and comfort with perceived or inhaled air quality. Time, cost, manpower, equipment, materials, digital solutions, efforts, knowledge sharing solutions are examples of comfort, convenience, and awareness that can be invested (sacrificed).

The ideated solution with the highest value delivery should be prototyped, i.e., developed. When developing the chosen ideated solution into a prototype, the value delivery criteria and empathy used in sieving the ideated solutions to decide on the selected one should be adhered to. It is important to note that the prototype for the delivery of healthy and energy-efficient indoor air could be in the form of goods or processes produced or service delivered.

The developed prototype should also be tested and assessed based on the empathy and value delivery criteria to collect data on its effectiveness. Lessons learnt from the initial test can be used to refine the prototype to increase its value delivery. The process of testing and prototype refinement can be iterated until all avenues to maximised the prototype value delivery have been maximised. Given below is a fiction story about the consequences of not applying empathy for indoor air quality management.

THE STORY

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Mr. Ronny Stone, a 45-year-old CEO and Chairman of Paradise Hotel Group, was at a dining table having lunch with his wife, Mrs. Stone, while watching a TV. Professor Adam Johnson, a professor of healthy buildings with interest in the hotel and tourism industry, was being interviewed on the importance of healthy hotel buildings in the TV programme.

Professor Johnson remarked that the quest for profits by hotel owners should not come at the detriment of hotels providing comfort and convenience to guests and people working there. He further said users of a hotel should have real-time information about the building performance, particularly that of indoor air quality.

Upon hearing the remark of Professor Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Stone looked at each other. “What is wrong, darling?” Mrs. Stone asked her visibly upset husband. “Can you imagine what the so-called professor that knows nothing about how the industry operates is saying?” Mr. Stone replied with a question and a raised voice. “Does he think hotels are operated for charity?” Mr. Stone asked his wife without expecting an answer from her. “Profit making supersede healthy hotel buildings.” Mr. Stone said arrogantly. At this time, Mr. Stone had already switched off the TV angrily.

Mr. Stone continued talking to his wife and boasting about several hotel buildings he has across the country, being the president of hotel owners, his political influence, and being a billionaire because of his sole focus on profit-making. “Finish your food; it is getting cold.” Mrs. Stone interjected. “Do not let a remark from a TV programme upset you.” Mrs. Stone advised. “The professor made the remark based on what he knows.” Mrs. Stone said, trying to calm her husband down.

Mr. Stone continued the discussion. “Do you know my secret for success and being a leader in the industry?” Mr. Stone asked. “It is very simple. Low investment cost and very high-profit returns for the company and me.” Mr. Stone continued talking before Mrs. Stone could say a word in response to the question from Mr. Stone. “Money is everything to me.” Mr. Stone said.

“My priority is making money even if there is a compromise to comfort, convenience, and awareness provided to guests and people working in my hotels.” Mr. Stone said arrogantly. Even if your staff experiences discomfort, inconvenience, and ignorance about their hotel environmental conditions?” Mrs. Stone interjected with a question. “Yes! They do not mind working for me. They need a job.” Mr. Stone replied boastfully.

“Darling, finish your food and do not let it get cold.” Mrs. Stone made an effort to change the topic, knowing her husband would continue talking to make his point even if no one is arguing with him. “I have lost my appetite because of this nonsense professor.” Mr. Stone responded and left the dining table angrily. Mr. Stone said to his wife as he left the dining table.

Several weeks later, a phone was ringing while Mr. Stone came out of the bathroom to start preparing to go to the office in the morning. “Take your phone, darling; it has been ringing since. It must be something very important.” Mrs. Stone said to her husband while passing the ringing phone to him. “Hello, Anna!” Mr. Stone said after accepting the call on his mobile phone. Anna is Mr. Stone’s executive assistance. “What is so important for you to be calling me so early this morning?” Mr. Stone said in a bossy voice before Anna could say a word.

“Mr. Joe is dead!” Anna responded while crying. Mr. Jacob Joe was the Deputy CEO and Group Head of the Estates department at Paradise Hotel Group. He managed all of Mr. Stone’s hotels’ development and operations. Mr. Stone and Mr. Joe had been friends since their childhood days and studied MBA together at the university. Mr. Joe had been working with Mr. Stone at the company for the past 20 years, a year after the company started. Mr. Stone and Mr. Joe had the same business style and mentality. Mr. Joe had contributed significantly to the growth of the company.

“Joe is dead!” Mr. Stone responded in shock! “What happened?” Mr. Stone asked in a surprised voice. “Mr. Joe had an accident on his way to the office this morning and died at the scene.” Anna responded in a crying voice. “I must rush to the mortuary now.” Mr. Stone, still in shock, said to his wife with teary eyes while trying to hold back tears after his phone conversation with Anna ended.

“Is Joe really dead? What happened?” Mrs. Stone asked as she could not believe what she heard from Mr. Stone and Anna’s phone conversation. “Joe had an accident this morning. I will give you details when I am back from the mortuary.” Mr. Stone responded to his wife while rushing to wear his cloth.

A week later, after Mr. Joe’s death, a senior director, Ms. Rebecca Benson, in the Estate department of Paradise Hotel Group was temporarily tasked to take charge of Mr. Joe’s responsibilities. A search for a permanent replacement was in progress. Ms. Benson had an MSc degree in Architectural Engineering with 23 years of experience before joining the Paradise Hotel Group. Ms. Benson joined the Paradise Hotel Group a week before Mr. Joe’s death. One of her responsibilities was to provide technical advice to Mr. Joe on hotel development and operations.

To do her acting role job properly, Ms. Benson reviewed all the records of Paradise Hotel Group’s hotel development and operations. She went to all the hotels to inspect operation practices. After one month of review of records and site investigations of how the company handles the development and operations of their hotels, she observed several indoor air quality problems. She decided the status quo must change.

In the previous jobs and the education, she experienced, Ms. Benson learnt the importance of healthy and energy-efficient indoor air value delivery and avoiding making profits to the detriment of safety. In a meeting with Mr. Stone and the heads of various departments at the Paradise Hotel Group, Ms. Benson raised fourteen indoor air quality (IAQ) problems she observed from the records and her site investigations.

The first problem she observed was low outdoor air ventilation rates in all their hotels when used. The company made efforts to save energy costs as much as possible to the detriment of healthy IAQ. They made no effort to balance energy cost savings and the delivery of healthy IAQ. Such practices led to a high concentration of air pollutants in their hotel buildings.

The second problem she observed was the poor distribution of outdoor air in their hotel buildings. This further caused the low amount of outdoor air supplied to be very insufficient in some micro-environments. Many guest rooms and rental spaces, like offices and stalls, were cramped on a floor to increase revenue costs.

The cramping of spaces caused partitions, furniture, and systems in the spaces to be poorly positioned and obstructed air distribution. Poor location of supply air diffusers in relation to the return air grilles also caused poor air distribution that led to poor IAQ.

Paradise Hotel Group was in the practice of approving designs and choosing designers and contractors with the lowest tender to the detriment of quality. Many of the designs approved had flaws that should have been easily avoided to prevent poor IAQ.

The third problem she observed was supplied outdoor air contained a high concentration of chemical, biological, and particulate air pollutants. Many of their designers disregarded the location of outdoor air intakes in the hotel buildings. The hotel buildings’ outdoor air intakes were located near car parks, delivery bays, cooling towers, etc.

The fourth problem she observed was occupants’ activities generated a high concentration of indoor air pollutants, and the facility management team’s response to solve the IAQ problem further complicated it. For example, the facility management team used ozone air purifiers with the intention of purifying the air from pollutants and remove the stale odour caused by cigarette smoke, mold, mildew, food, and beverages in the hotels.

The fifth problem she observed was HVAC systems were major sources of air pollutants in their hotels. For example, the low budget for maintenance of HVAC systems caused mold growth, smelly filters, dusty and dirty ductworks. Poor design and specification led to high condensation in the HVAC systems. The used ionisers in the HVAC systems led to ozone and particles generation.

The sixth problem she observed was HVAC systems distributed air pollutants in their hotels. The HVAC systems in their hotel buildings were designed in such a way that they recirculated air pollutants from one room to another easily. Pollutants from rooms, such as toilets, print rooms, kitchens, etc. were drawn into return air plenum due to poor design or no exhaust system in these polluted rooms and distributed to hotel rooms or tenant spaces.

The seventh problem she observed was non-HVAC equipment served as source and distributor of air pollutants. Equipment and machines generated chemical and particulate pollutants into indoor air. Tenants of office and stall spaces in their hotel buildings were allowed to bring in equipment and machines that emitted significant amount of air pollutants in their rented spaces, in as much as they pay extra fee the management called maintenance fees.

Management of Paradise Hotel Group, on the direction of Mr. Stone and Mr. Joe, collected the maintenance fees without specific details on how the fees would improve maintenance effort required to reduce IAQ problems the equipment and machines caused.

With poor design problems highlighted earlier, generated pollutants were distributed to hotel guest rooms. Whenever guests complain of air quality problems, the management used ozone air purifiers that generated a high concentration of ozone that further compromised indoor air quality. The generated ozone and pollutants generated from ozone-initiated chemistry caused discomfort and inconvenience to the occupants. The guests and the management were ignorant of the extent to which the hotels’ air quality had been polluted.

The eighth problem she observed was contaminated indoor surfaces in their hotels caused by poor sanitation or accident became sources of indoor air pollutants. There were several cases of leaking pipes in all their hotel buildings. The leakages were largely due to poor pipe materials used, poor installation, poor maintenance culture, and the low budget for maintenance.

Wet surfaces caused by the leakages led to mould infested building surfaces, furniture, carpets. Surprisingly, the solution provided was cleaning the mould on the infested surfaces with little or no effort to address the mould infestation’s root cause.

The ninth problem she observed was the presence of biological pollutants due to poor control of moisture from condensation and poorly designed and management of the HVAC systems. The HVAC systems were designed to be oversized. The high moisture content in the large volume of air from the oversized HVAC systems was poorly removed. The supplied air temperature was not lowered below the dew point due to greed to save energy costs as much as possible, even to the detriment of safety.

The tenth problem she observed was the emission of VOCs from building materials and furniture into indoor air. She found that formaldehyde, a carcinogenic air pollutant, is a major constituent of the emitted air pollutants. Poor specifications and materials choices were made during construction and renovation works.

The eleventh problem she observed was the generation of pollutants from housekeeping or maintenance activities into indoor air. Several air fresheners were placed at the hotels’ corridors to mask the poor perceived air quality.

The air fresheners generated unsaturated hydrocarbons that were easily oxidised by ozone generated by air purifiers and ionisers used in the hotel buildings. The oxidation of the generated VOCs produced secondary organic aerosols and other harmful pollutants like formaldehyde. There were also reported cases of the air fresheners causing the guests, tenants, staff, and other users of their hotel buildings to experience sensory irritations.

The twelveth problem she observed was poor management of air pollutants from spaces with dedicated activities. For example, kitchens and laundry rooms were not negatively pressurised due to poor design consideration. The exhaust systems that were supposed to be in these spaces were either not working effectively, not present, not available in the right quantities, or at the right place. Furthermore, these spaces were not poorly ventilated.

The thirteenth problem she observed was the emission of air pollutants from refurbishment activities. No safety protocols were put in place to prevent the building up of air pollutants and the distribution of air pollutants generated from refurbishment activities to occupied spaces in the hotels. HVAC systems were often contaminated from construction activities and not cleaned before operations start making the HVAC systems sources of air pollutants in the spaces the HVAC systems were serving.

The fourteenth problem she observed was the emission of pollutants from combustion activities into indoor air. For example, the poor exhaust systems in car parks of the hotel buildings increased the concentration of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other air pollutants at the car parks.

With high leakage rates in all the hotels’ building envelopes, high infiltration rates of air pollutants from car parks into the occupied lower floors above the car parks occurred. Whenever hotel guests and tenants complained, air fresheners, ozone air purifiers, and ionization systems that further compromised the indoor air quality were usually adopted.

“So what?” Mr. Stone asked arrogantly after Ms. Benson finished sharing all the identified IAQ problems at the meeting. Mr. Stone could not be bothered by all the problems shared because he was aware of them, and he and Mr. Joe decided to invest little necessary resources and make very high profits to the detriment of safety. They were only interested in providing solutions to problems and not solving them.

“The root causes of all the fourteen IAQ problems she highlighted could be concluded to be a lack of empathy, poor problem-solving skills, and greediness.” Ms. Benson responded to Mr. Stone bluntly. Mr. Stone was very upset and felt personally very insulted when Ms. Benson talked about the root causes of the problems she highlighted at the meeting. “Remember, you are in an acting role. Tread carefully,” Mr. Stones warned Ms. Benson. “This is how we do our things here, and things will remain the way they have been for many years to come.

“So, you get used to the practice here if you want to survive here”. Mr. Stone said in a commanding tone. “I do not see any problem here as we are making a lot of money in all our hotels and our profits keep increasing” Mr. Stone said boastfully. “Mr. Smith, yes or no”. Mr. Stone asked his Chief Financial and Investment Officer. “Yes, Sir! Our profit is increasing tremendously,” Mr. Smith responded.

“Sir! I am sorry for being very blunt.” Ms. Benson apologised. “However, I cannot do my job well if actions are not taking to address all the problems I highlighted.” Ms. Benson tried to explain herself out. “I cannot just do it!” Mr. Benson said affirmatively. All the heads of departments and members of the senior management at the meeting who have been at the company for 15 years and above were shocked that someone could be exchanging words with Mr. Stone when he is visibly upset.

“You are fired, Rebecca!” Mr. Stone shouted while pointing at Ms. Benson. Everyone in the room was shocked. “Fired?” Ms. Benson said in a surprising voice. “Why are you firing me?” Ms. Benson asked while trying to understand what is going on. As Ms. Benson asked Mr. Stone questions to comprehend what was going on and looked at all the people in the room like she was seeking support, Mr. Stone was making a call.

In less than two minutes after he put the phone down, two security officers came into the room to the surprise of everyone in the room. Even the two security officers did not know why they were in the boardroom.

“Escort this lady out of the building. Make sure she does not take anything that belongs to the company with her.” Mr. Stone said in a commanding tone. “Yes Sir!” The security officers said collectively. “Ok fine, if that is how you want to do it.” Ms. Benson said while standing up from her seat. “Madam, please leave.”

One of the security officers said. “Do not touch me; I know my way out.” Ms. Benson said as the security officers moved closer to her. The security officers later escorted Ms. Benson out of the building as instructed by Mr. Stone after she packed all her things.

“Next time you hire someone like this to this company, you will be fired too.” Mr. Stone turned his attention to the Chief Human Resources Officer to warn her in an angry voice. “I will personally choose the permanent replacement for Mr. Joe myself.” Mr. Stone said. “You can stop the search now.” Mr. Stone instructed. The Chief HR officer, who was in fear and could not even say a word, just nodded her head to agree with Mr. Stone.

“I want you all to remember one thing when making decisions in my company. Low investment costs and very high profits to this company.” Mr. Stone instructed. “You can resign now if you are not happy with this directive.” Mr. Stone turned his attention to the rest of his employees in the boardroom and said with a bossy attitude. “Yes boss!” Everybody in the bedroom responded in a collective voice.

The next day, Mr. Stone called one of his mentees, Mr. Lewis, to check if he was interested in taking Mr. Joe’s vacant position. Mr. Lewis was holding a senior position in another company at that time. Mr. Lewis agreed to take the position, and business as usual continued at Paradise Hotel Group. Profit making continued to rise to the detriment of comfort, convenience, and awareness delivery to hotel guests, tenants, and staff.

A year after Mr. Lewis joined Paradise Hotel Group, a virus-related disease pandemic occurred. The virus was highly infectious, contagious, and deadly. Many people were infected, and hotels were turned into quarantine centres when there were no available places for quarantine due to a large volume of people that needed to be quarantined. Mr. Stone capitalised on this and used his political connections and influence to win the contract award to use all his twenty-five hotels across the country as quarantine centres. Some other hotels in the country were chosen as quarantine centres.

However, 90% of the hotels used for quarantine centres belonged to Paradise Hotel Group. While the revenue for other hotels, big or small, was in the negative because of the pandemic impact on the economy, the revenue of Paradise Hotel Group managed to stay in the positive. Mr. Stone made a lot of money from the contract award even during the pandemic.

Eight months into the pandemic, the government and medical experts realised that about 97% of all the people sent to Paradise Hotel Group’s hotels for quarantine tested uninfected with the virus before checking in got infected during their stay. 60% of the people infected at Paradise Hotel Group’s hotels while serving their quarantine order later died at the hospital from disease caused by the virus. Only about 5% of all the people sent to other hotels for quarantine tested uninfected with the virus before checking in got infected during their stay.

Mr. Stone and Mr. Lewis realised the situation with their hotels and made efforts to cover the situation. Mr. Stone’s political influence was used to aid the cover-up. When rumors started making waves online that Paradise Hotel Group hotels were death-in-the-making centres and people refused to be quarantined there, the government was forced to intervene to maintain their political relevance. The government stopped using Paradise Hotel Group hotels for quarantine purposes to appease the populace.

A panel of inquiry was constituted to investigate Paradise Hotel Group hotels to understand why the infections occur at their hotels at an alarming rate. The panel was led by Professor Johnson, the well-renowned healthy buildings expert that advocates for healthy hotel buildings.

The preliminary investigation by the panel revealed all the IAQ problems earlier highlighted by Ms. Benson, and no one took action to solve them. Findings from the initial investigation prompted the government to suspend the Paradise Hotel Group hotel license until further notice.

Further investigation conducted onsite at all the Paradise Hotel Group hotels after the pandemic situation subsidised further revealed their unsafe operations. Aside from confirming all the IAQ problems, the site investigations also revealed several other building performance problems, e.g., severe structural and fire safety problems and financial fraud in the company dealings with designers and contractors.

Mr. Stone was arrested and charged to court by the federal government for fraud, endangerment of life, and business decisions leading to the death of several people. The charges collectively carried a maximum sentence of 45 years imprisonment with hard labour. The prosecutors painted Mr. Stone as some who lacked empathy, had a very poor ability to solve problems, and was greedy.

The prosecution team called Ms. Benson as one of their witnesses. Ms. Benson revealed her experience and how she made efforts to resolve the IAQ problems at Paradise Group Hotel before the pandemic but to no avail. She said she got fired instead by Mr. Stone for making the efforts.

On the IAQ problems highlighted by Ms. Benson, the prosecution team called an expert witness that provided objective data based on simulation and experimental data they conducted and evidence from the literature to put a nail on the coffin of Mr. Stone’s case. The data provided by the prosecution team’s expert witness suggests that had Mr. Stone listened to Ms. Benson and supported her intention to make changes, the high infection rate and deaths from the virus could have been prevented and, at worst, reduced.

Specifically, the expert witness said the poor design, construction, and maintenance of the HVAC systems in the hotels contributed significantly to the transmission of the virus. The expert witness said poor ventilation rates and, in many cases, no ventilation usage because of the greed to say energy cost as much as possible increased the concentration of the deadly virus.

Mr. Stone’s defence team made a frantic effort to dismiss the negative portrayal of Mr. Stone by the prosecution team but to no avail. The evidence presented by the prosecution team was overwhelming. Mr. Stone was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison with hard labour.

The presiding judge, Judge Miriam Wade, also ordered Mr. Stone’s company hotel license to be revoked, and he should neither be allowed to own nor operate a hotel or any building again for life. She also ordered relevant authorities to seize Mr. Stone’s assets and demolish some of the hotels that have serious structural problems and posed a danger for living beings to occupy.

In sentencing, Mr. Stone, Judge Wade, said she hopes Mr. Stone will reflect deeply in prison to learn life lessons on the importance of applying empathy in business operations and life. “I hope you will learn how to solve a problem instead of providing a solution to a problem.” Judge Wade advised. She also advised him not to be greedy as greediness blocks one’s eyes from a problem until the problem consumed one.

Mr. Stone was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Mrs. Stone cried when her husband was being led out of the courtroom. Their son, Peter, who flew into the country to attend his father’s court case, tried to comfort her.

After conviction in the criminal court, Mr. Stone also had to deal with several cases in civil courts. The high bills from hundreds of civil cases coupled with seized assets bankrupted him. The problems were too much for Mrs. Stone to bear. She had a heart attack one day and died before her son could rush her to the hospital.

The death of Mrs. Stone, Mr. Stone being in prison, and the loss of their fortune caused Peter to be very depressed. The depression was so bad. Unfortunately, he did not seek medical attention. The depression caused him to lose focus at his work and in many of his activities. Peter had an accident one night on his way from drinking at a pub. Peter died in the hospital three days later.

The root causes of all Mr. Stone’s problems, i.e., lack of empathy, poor problem-solving skills, and greediness, followed him to prison, and he got into several problems as a result within the first 10 years of his prison sentence. Mr. Stone was a leader of a gang in prison. Mr. Stone started to change for the better when the root causes of his flaws nearly got him killed by a rival gang in prison.

Mr. Stone spent 7 months in an unconscious state and under life support in the intensive care unit. He spent additional 5 months in the hospital to recover from his injuries. The near-death event forced Mr. Stone to reflect deeply and be conscious of the root causes of his flaws and made him see the need to change for the better. Mr. Stone started the reflection when he returned from the hospital. He regretted deeply that his actions and decisions contributed to the death of his wife and son.

His behaviour changed for the better. He even took a degree in design while in prison for a better understanding of philosophy and application of design thinking that put a premium on using empathy to solve a problem. During and after graduation from his degree programme, Mr. Stone used the knowledge and skills gained to improve himself and the welfare of his prison mates.

Mr. Stone used empathy, good problem-solving skills that solve problems by eliminating or reducing the root cause of a problem instead of providing a solution to a problem, and avoidance of greed to deliver value in prison. His prison mates saw him as a mentor. He had a positive influence on them. He also contributed positively to the community outside the prison on several occasions through community programmes organised by the prison management.

Mr. Stone was released early from prison after spending 20 years in prison for good behaviour. Upon release from prison, Mr. Stone, now nearing 70 years old with no money, got a job at a government community care institution through the help of prison management.

Mr. Stone made a tremendously positive contribution to people’s lives throughout the country in and outside the prison and businesses. Particularly, he advocated for using and used empathy to assess situations before, during, after they occurred. He also advocated for using and used empathy to inform how a problem is defined and how ideation, prototyping, and testing were done. The application of empathy he was able to deliver to all stakeholders involved a problem.

Mr. Stone received many awards from the government for his contributions. He lived a decent and peaceful life until his death 7 years after leaving the prison. He died peacefully in his sleep.

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