I do not ask a wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person, My hurt turns livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.

“Song of Myself”
Walt Whitman

The Empathy Lab has one goal, to drastically improve the way we build and share empathy.

To do this, Empathy Lab is on a mission to create an environment where stories can be exchanged, understanding can be gathered, anonymous vitriol is impossible, and feelings can be shared. By having these conversations, we improve our social awareness and empathy for different people.

This issue with Empathy Lab is that it can only thrive through shared stories. The stories that shape us are a mixture of a few grand tales, several tragedies, weird family gatherings, and many, many boring routines. This rich mix is us, our richest commodity, and something that should be shared.

Who’s behind this?

A guy named Shelton Davis and many of his amazing friends. Shelton is a long time practicing user experience product designer and researcher that regularly interviews people to figure out their wants, needs, desires, and pain points. His friends and advisors (one in the same) are a diverse crowd of thinkers, listeners, doers, adventurers, and best of all, rationally positive people.

Why Empathy Lab for people?

The Empathy Lab is being built because much of our communication lacks empathy by design. With an infinitely distracting feed of 140 character positions, news media sounds bites, deep social threads, and big-data analysis, we have moved away from the rich person to person communication. Through common story sharing, Empathy Lab is positioning itself to bring more empathy to the conversations already taking place.

Why Empathy Lab for business?

All businesses make money from humans. These humans have needs, emotions, stories to tell, and problems that need ears that listen. Despite knowing that constantly fulfilling a users wants and needs make businesses thrive, many businesses cut their user research and problem discovery budgets for less personal, big data options. Empathy Lab is going to help businesses rekindle that human relationship that algorithms and data tables fail to grasp. By connecting real humans with real business humans through Empathy Lab, smiles can be exchanged and product market fits can be discovered.

PHASE 1 – Gather Stories

The main elements of Empathy Lab are simple, daily low-bias questions and short answers. By asking people about their Favorite Cereal or whether they watched the most recent Solar Eclipse, we start to get people talking about similar low-emotion topics. Behind these answers can be exciting stories, deep feelings, and truly boring accounts. Despite what is shared, the answers to these questions are your gold, and your gold to be shared if you are willing to grow.

PHASE 2 – Share Stories

Here is where the elements of Empathy Lab need to come together. Stories need to be shared in order to start the creation of empathy. Mix one crazy story with one truly sad story, about cereal of course, and you’ve created a small bit of empathy between two people that like cereal. Bring many of these stories and the resulting empathy together and then talk about something a bit harder, like local politics, regional debt, or global warming. The conversation could be less barbed and more understanding if you and that person agree on breakfast cereal, do you think?

PHASE 3 – Repeat

Repeat the process and continue gathering stories.