Do Empathy Challenge: Judges’ favorite team is taking empathy to gaming platforms

Helsinki Think Company together with Vikes (The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development) & The Finnish Refugee Council organized a 3-day online challenge for a more empathic society. 

During the weekend teams were challenged to reconstruct their ideas of what empathy means to people and how we can increase it in society. Do Empathy brought together students, entrepreneurs, researchers and other enthusiasts from different backgrounds and fields.

Five teams with the help of experts created multidisciplinary solutions for two themes: Real Talk & Empathic Communities. The expertise of the participants varied from user interface design and social psychology to marketing and peace & conflict research. Do Empathy participants genuinely wanted to make a change in society and were extremely motivated. All five teams worked hard and created concepts that have to potential to increase empathy in our everyday lives.

The multidisciplinarity of the participants was also visible in the diversity of the solutions, which focused on several topics, such as trained empathy facilitators and moderated online meeting platforms. During the weekend the teams received tailored mentoring from experts in different fields, such as sales, marketing, pitching, networking and crowdfunding. In addition, many of the experts had thematic knowledge in human rights, equality, conversation studies, meaningful work, philosophy, research of love, building empathy etc:

Janne Salakka, Miehet ry
Jaakko Hilppö and Pentti Henttonen, University of Helsinki
Jaakko Sahimaa, Meaningful Work Finland
Tomi Suomela and Ilkka Laine, Sellai Oy
Jarkko Nissinen, Startuplifers
Arto Sivonen, Måndag
Wanda and Naomi Holopainen, ATAÀ Agency
Pärttyli Rinne, Love Foundation
YC Felin, Lyfta

The challenge weekend culminated with every team pitching their concept ideas to a panel of judges:

Katja Mannerström, Head Of Public Affairs at Finnish Refugee Council
Linda Lehto, Special Advisor, Fundraising at Finnish Refugee Council
Kirsi Koivuporras, Project Coordinator at Vikes
Nasim Selmani, Inclusion Officer at Inklusiiv

The judges were impressed by the teams’ concept ideas and saw great potential in more than one solution:

“All the teams did an amazing job coming up with these diverse and empathic ideas in such a short time”

Out of the five teams, Guerilla Empathy was chosen as the judges’ favourite team. They took part in the Real Talk challenge and will now discuss on possible further developments with Vikes and PakolaisapuGuerilla Empathy‘s solution revolved around collaborating with e-sporters, influencers and youth professionals to bring empathy and discussion tools to young men. The runner-up team was Colorful, whose solution was a work festival for international professionals in Finland.

”Guerilla Empathy offers a platform for new opportunities and openings. The competence, activity and knowledge of the team was convincing.”

The judges on Guerilla Empathy’s idea

“My happy, humble thanks to our team and the nice organisers! You managed to work it all out together throughout the entire mind-blowing challenge under such a crazy pressure. And then we ended up as the judge’s favorite, omg – wow!”

Guerilla Empathy team member

All in all the weekend was a huge success as the teams got the opportunity to learn a new approach for tackling a big societal challenge like hate speech or the lack of empathy. We genuinely felt that the atmosphere was empathic and uplifting, but still very motivated and professional. We’re incredibly excited to start following the journey of the teams’ ideas and see what the future brings.

Check out the video and get inspired by the Do Empathy Challenge!



Text: Maija Leermakers & Liisa Lehkonen

Featured image: Sanna Kujala

Video: Eeva-Stiina Niemi