“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

The Empathy Lab has one goal, to create better communities of people by drastically improving the way we learn, build, and share empathy through storytelling.

To do this, Empathy Lab is on a mission to create safe environments to learn about empathy, practice ways of being empathetic, and finding ways to apply these learnings to real life. The environments Empathy Lab creates are places where stories can be exchanged, understanding can be gathered, anonymous vitriol is impossible, and feelings can be shared. By having these conversations and supporting empathetic learning, we improve our social awareness and understanding of different people.

The battle against judgement

The problem that Empathy Lab is solving for is that communities of people thrive through shared stories yet people tend to avoid sharing those stories that point out their differences because they fear negative feedback or judgement. These different stories that shape us are a mixture of a few grand tales, some tragedies, weird family gatherings, and many, many, boring routines. This rich mix of stories is us, our richest commodity, and something that needs be shared in order to grow together.

Who’s behind Empathy Lab and why?

Fighting to create a world where my daughter has less to worry about. Proud of Juliette

Shelton Davis is the founder, active listener, and adventurer behind Empathy Lab. From many joyous + frustrating years as a husband, father, family member, friend, cat owner, recovering decathlete, and user experience strategist (researcher & design), he’s come to realize that practicing empathy as a skill in ANY JOB is not common. Empathy for team, empathy for user, empathy for self, there is a drought.

Empathy Lab is built to help individuals and communities of people gain self awareness and empathy so that they can be truly innovative and expand their world. Shelton’s been known to shout, “Empathy is innovation fuel, people! Listen to your user!” Instead of shouting, Empathy Lab is actively helping people judge less, empathize more, and innovate faster.

Hard skills vs soft skills, FIGHT!

Practicing hard skills like graphic design, product management, software development, leadership, speaking, and underwater basket weaving are skills that many master for their careers, but empathy, a soft skill is just expected. Despite all of the great research and application done by Brené Brown , Dr. Helen Riess, and Dr. Daniel Goleman to name a few, self awareness and empathy is still not at the forefront of skills to learn and continually practice.


As the Lab continues to grow, so do its supporters, drivers, and challengers. Many thanks to many friends!