As a general principle, there are two ways you can brainstorm ideas, and it all depends on where you start: with possibilities or limitations. However, one of those methods will often lead you down the wrong path, and the other prevents that risk.
The ironic consequence of focusing on empathy for years, with the intention of measuring the results of being more empathetic, is that it becomes a reflex, not an effort. A routine, not a special trait. A non-issue, rather than something enlightening to discuss.
Think about the last time you tried to solve a jigsaw puzzle, or Sudoku, or a crossword. It felt a lot different than UX design, right? Well, it shouldn’t.