Our World

Skoll World Forum: Designing With Empathy

I remember my time at the Skoll World Forum last year as one of my favorite weeks during the fellowship. The opportunity to spend time with the fellows and share our stories, reconnect with Acumen Fund, and participate in inspiring conversations around social entrepreneurship was truly a magical experience. I was very excited to return this year and was even able to convince IDEO’s CEO, Tim Brown and Co-Creative Officer, June Fulton Suri, to join me.

The Forum did not let anyone down and the excitement I felt upon arrival has stayed with me since. The energy and optimism around social entrepreneurs and those supporting them is incredible. Participating in discussions about scale, microfranchising, and climate change were especially stimulating and the lens of culture, which was a focus of the forum this year, was a great addition to the many more economic-based conversations we tend to have in this field.

I was fortunate to lead a workshop with my colleagues from IDEO, Tim, Jane, and Aaron, about using empathy as a tool for social impact. The purpose of the workshop was to give a quick taste of the IDEO design process and teach a few observation techniques for social entrepreneurs trying to understand different cultural contexts. While IDEO workshops are always fun, the quality of the observations and ideas that come out of them is quite varied. Working with a group of 60 esteemed practitioners, we were very impressed by the depth of observations they noted and the innovativeness of ideas that they generated.

If in only two hours teams could come up with ideas like midwives on bikes, wandering microscopes, and health pods, just think of what they could do in a few weeks.

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