Moral

Moral character

Assets | Empathy

1. Highlights

Empathy is an emotional connection with others that comes out of an awareness of their lived experience and emotional states. Principled Innovation builds on empathy in seeking to understand the challenges that our learning communities face and in identifying the changes that we need to make.

Gain insight into the perspectives, values and identities of others

Understand someone more deeply by placing ourselves in their position

Move beyond our own experiences and develop a more complex view of the world

Empathy allows us to gain deeper insights into the perspectives, values, and identities of others, helping us better understand how to address systemic challenges and design ethical solutions that equitably meet the needs of a diverse range of people. Empathy invites us to extend beyond our own perspective and engage sympathetically in care for each other.

There are many ways to develop empathy. Sometimes it happens naturally, through conversation with others and shared experiences. Often, though, we must intentionally work to develop empathy, using methods such as interviews, observations, and in trying our best to step into someone else’s shoes. These activities help us to answer the question, “How would you feel if you were in that person’s place?” Perspective-taking activities like this can help us make an emotional connection with others that can motivate us toward altruism — toward taking action to help others succeed.

Empathy could be developed through answering the question “How would you feel if you were in that person’s place?"
"Empathy does not always take us to places we want to go, but empathy can take us to places we need to go." Elizabeth Segal

2. Context

"Empathy does not always take us to places we want to go, but empathy can take us to places we need to go." Elizabeth Segal

3. Resources

Select one of our featured resources or visit the PI toolkit library for more tools.

What is empathy?

  Video

  3 minutes

  By: Ashoka Foundation

Empathy in designing solutions

  Video

  2 minutes

  By: IDEO

Why the world needs an empathy revolution

  Article

  5 minutes

  By: Greater Good Science Center, Jill Suttie

Compassion meditation

  Tool

  30 minutes

  By: Greater Good Science Center

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