Start Empathy


Kickstart Your Changemaking Journey

Get Inspired! Get Engaged!

Laura Hay |

Being a changemaker is a journey, not a destination. As a changemaker, you harness the power of ‘why?’ and generate your own answers.

There are so many problems in the world. But changemakers see beyond the problems and challenges around them, and instead see opportunities for improving their community and our world through mastering the core skills of Empathy, Teamwork, Fluid Leadership and Changemaking.

Below are some initial steps that you can take right now to start your changemaker journey. At Ashoka’s Youth Venture® we say “Dream it. Do it.” Now it is your turn to do so. You are now part of the ‘Everyone A Changemaker’ world.

Still unsure? Just listen to some of these amazing young changemakers leading their own global projects:

Well, are you in? Let’s get to work!


Action 1

Give yourself permission to take that first step and be a Changemaker. In giving yourself permission to be a changemaker, you are giving your mind and heart permission to think bold, to ask ‘why?’, to make mistakes in your quest for designing positive change in your community. Are you nervous or have some self-doubt? It’s ok! Know that you are actually made up of ‘star stuff’. The atoms that make up your body come from the stars that exploded millions of years ago. ‘You are not just inside of the universe, but the universe is inside of you,’ as the great Carl Sagan once said.




Action 2

Define why being a changemaker is important to you. Defining this will give you a sense of direction on why  you’re doing what you’re doing. Share the answer with three people and see what they have to say and tweet to @Youth-Venture  using the #StartEmpathy or post to Youth Venture®  on Facebook your answers. You will realize you are not alone in your changemaker journey and that you are part of a community of change agents.



Action 3

Einstein said “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.” Defining the problem in detail is the most important part of problem solving because without understanding the problem correctly the chances are very slim you are going to create an applicable solution. Dive deeper in framing your idea into a venture by downloading Youth Venture’s® Sustainable Action Plan. The action plan includes some of the following steps you can take in your changemaker journey:


noun_146904_ccWhat’s your story? In 3 paragraphs, discover an issue that affects you or someone you know in as much detail as possible. Think of this as writing the story of you, or the story of your idea. What is the headline? What is the ‘so what factor?’ to your approach?


noun_128681_ccDefine your target audience. Who are you trying to help and where will you want to launch your idea? Know your issue and power your idea with ingredients of empathy by interviewing at least 3 people from your school or the affected community, and research the general topic you want to problem solve around.


noun_99111_ccSolve the puzzle. Review your findings and piece a puzzle together that finds common problems and what the blind spots are that negatively affect the community or the environment! In your research, are there any allies in your school or community that are working on a similar idea that you can get mentorship from or partner up with?


noun_136946_ccConnect passions with problems. The best solutions usually come from people that use their passions to design solutions. Draw two columns and fill out your passions in one column and in the second column identify problems. Be honest with yourself and unafraid to think BIG! After you are done with these two columns, start matching passions that you could use to solve a problem.Share it with us! Tweet to@Youth_Venture or share with us on Facebook your Passions-Problems chart!



noun_176556_ccRemember to dive deeper in framing your idea by downloading Youth Venture’s ® Sustainable Action Plan No step is too small!



Here is an online tool powered by Google to help you see what’s already out there and connect your passion to the social issue you care about!

Idea Springboard Google Science Fair 2015













Related Resources



What Do You Have To Say?

Join the Conversation on #StartEmpathy

Get Updates

Ashoka Fellows: Creative Visionaries Committed to Solving Social Problems

Learn More