Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Bill Drayton


Video: Ashoka

Bill Drayton,  "The course of human history has been towards a more and more empathy based society. And this is the critical moment where we shift to everyone being powerful. It's the only way you can have real equality.

Jill Vialet, "With Playworks we are going in and are working on recess and we're bringing play into the school in this very constructive and positive way. It isn't  about us coming in and doing it for the kids, or to the kids, but rather by norming empathy, the kids become the primary actors and the kids who are achieving these really significant changes."



2012-05-17 -  Bill Drayton: Empathy-Based Ethics: A Strategic Essential
The rules of this new world are still undefined. They are in a state of flux and as the world becomes more complex, the original rules don’t apply. In this world, where value is first in contributing to change, people need different skills. They must master empathy first; it is the foundation of everything else.


2012-05-09 - Ashoka: Innovators For The Public: "The Future of Social Entrepreneurship" Florida
Bill Drayton talks about the importance of empathy.
The Future of Social Entrepreneurship by Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka; Alberto Ibargüen, CEO of Knight Foundation; and Matthew Bishop, Editor of
the Economist

2011-06-03 - Bill Drayton talks about the importance of empathy 

  • Welcome to new Fellows

    • What is most powerful force -

      • An idea

      • A lot of entrepreneurs together

      • Collaborative entrepreneurship

      • A global team of teams to help the new world come to be

      • understand the patterns

  • 4:00 Example

    • Rate of change is escalating

    • Hierarchy is dying - repetitive work

    • New is constant change of environment

    • Need flexible teams

  • For new paradigm need

    • Empathy - master it as a child

    • empathy - leadership - teamwork - change making

    • practice it, practice, practice

  • 6:30 - any child that dose not master empathy will be out

    • in a world of less rules, need empathetic skills

    • to do good and not do harm

    • need it in the schools - Mary Gordon - Roots of Empathy

    • practice empathy

  • 8:00 a five year initiative to have empathy in all the schools

    • this is really powerful

2011-09-11 - Eric Paglia, co-host of the Stockholm-based radio program Think Globally Radio, chatted with Ashoka's founder and CEO Bill Drayton at the Tällberg Forum in Sigtuna, Sweden last month.


Bill Drayton - TakePart

  • Static rules based world and approach versus Empathy

  • Ashoka -association of 3,000 social entrepreneurs

  • old paradigm is learn knowlage - works in a static world

  • for a dynamy wolrd  - empathy

  • change maker = empathy, leadership, teamwork

  • learn it by doing

2011-09-30 - Bill Drayton of Ashoka talks about their latest initiative on empathy  
Bill Drayton of Ashoka talks about their latest initiative on empathy,
 a new approach with collaborative entrepreneurship,
and the growing influence of social enterprise.


  • Start

    • Static rules based world and approach versus Empathy

    • We will need empathy to adapt to a changing world

    • Principals and teachers need to understand the importance of empathy'

    • A collaborative entrepreneurship trust across the world

    • To make sure 5 year from now 80% of the principles in north America know this

    • Parents looking at schools, asking how good is your school at teaching empathy?

    • "how did your brother feel when you hit him"

    • Collaborative entrepreneurship is new, working on a fundamental pattern shift like this.

    • Every Child must master empathy

  • 4:13 Some of the critics might say, how do you teach empathy?

  •  Isn't it something that comes from within and is your own experience?

  •  And is empathy just another buzz word?

  • How do we insure that schools, businesses, organizations are taking this seriously?

    • you can measure empathy and I think we will get better at measuring it

    • the Canadians have very good measurements of bullying rates.

    • bullying is not empathic

    • can children identify feelings - anger?

    • read emotions

    • Mary Gordon - Roots of Empathy - very successful

      • what is baby saying and feeling?

      • good modeling of empathy

    • give children a chance

    • We got most people literate, now we need empathy literacy

    • empathy, leadership, teambuilding

  • 7:40 Can you bring empathy to private sector? 

    • companies have to be a team of teams

    • no empathy no team

    • like the principles - they don't know how important this is

    • must master the difficult skill of empathy

    • faster the change, the more empathy you need.

    • need to understand person in front of you, around you, groups, past and future

    • complicated - takes significant work

  • 10:00 Are other societies better at empathy?

    • difficult

    • Indonesia - don't upset others

    • US has advantage - created democracy

    • lost the democracy  - by creating empire

    • associative skills - but losing skills

    • need to turn it around

  • 12:20 - What Ashoka doing in US?

    • social entrepreneurship is going up

  • 15:25  - What do we need to work on?

    • 1. this is the movement where we need to move from a small elite to where everyone is a change maker

    • 2. we have just learned how to do collaborative entrepreneurship

      • empathy and entrepreneurship

    • figure out collaborative entrepreneurship

  • 19:20 What's been the greatest impact?

    • internet technology - communications - coming together

  • 20:50 - What's your advice?

    • give yourself permission - to change the world

    • gently ignore the people who tell you- you can't



2008 - Bill Drayton - Ashoka - Empathy

"Drayton makes a compelling case for applied empathy as an integral and foundational part of any educational model."


  • 00:00The largest single group of leading social entrepreneurs Ashoka fellows focuses on children and young people.  Maybe 450 out of the 2,400 all together.

  • 00:40 What really matters is whether or not children master applied empathy.

  • And whether young people, 12 to 20 master empathy teamwork leadership. .....

  • 1:00 Every child must master applied empathy or they are going to be marginalized. If you are not given the tools of applied empathy as a young child, which is inexcusable, if that didn't happen,  we shouldn't be blaming you. We should be blaming us.

  • That really makes me angry, because we're doing that.  Maybe 25-30 percent of the worlds is marginalized because we failed to do something so simple.

  • 1:40 We have to have to have a revolution analogous to the civil rights  movement or the women's movement, so that all the young people, not just the children of the few fortunate families who go to the best schools that actually encourage this.

  •  That everyone grasps empathy, practices it, and practices empathy teamwork leadership.  This is the most fundamental revolution we have to get through.

2011-06-08 - The Change Maker - Bill Drayton on Empathy and Leadership
He explains how empathy is key to effective collaboration in a rapidly changing world, and the art of listening

  • "This is a world where you need a higher form of empathy, where you observe yourself, watch other people around you, and then you find yourself understanding and interacting with various combinations of people. So this goes to say that the system around you is changing. You need to contribute to the system and avoid doing damage. So, you require a very sophisticated set of skills...

  • So, we need to have literacy and social skills so that people have the empathetic skills, teamwork skills and leadership skills that could effect change. ...

  • Listening is understanding. The skill of empathy is a must to be able to listen! Then you can listen to people, the environment and sometimes to the future! One can listen better if one sees the whole!”

2010-04-08 - Muscular Empathy - a Story from Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker

Thirty years of carefully examining the connections that bind us, one to the other, has led Bill to see how empathy is the one significant thread that weaves its way through the tapestry of all of the fellows’ works. Every Ashoka fellow is gifted with the ability to view multiple perspectives…to see through the lens of another…to walk in someone else shoes and in my words…love deeply, authentically and wholly.



2009-01-19 -

2007--07-16 Social Entrepreneurship" - Ashoka's Bill Drayton speaks.. @Google

  • 23:33 -They haven't learned an important skill which is Applied Empathy.

    • agriculture and learn the rules

    • no more - the rules keep changing

    • we have to understand what is the effect on others, across the organization and future and adjust our behavior to be a good person

    • this is a learned social skill and a lot of humanity is not learning it.

    • Root's of Empathy story

      • bullying rates go down

    • underlying principles

    • working together is important