On April 3rd, Shizenkan University held an online open class, “The Potential for Social Innovation Generated by Empathy” with Adjunct Professor Masataka Uo.
Japan is faced with piles of diverse and fragmented social problems, such as the rapidly declining birthrate, the aging population, child poverty, and solitary deaths. It is no longer viable to leave it to the government alone to find a solution due to its fiscal constraints.
Adjunct Professor Uo said, “The ability to set up common ground with players who have different values is an essential and powerful ability in demonstrating empathy. This chain of empathy can turn a small change into a big swell, like falling dominoes. However, if there are gaps between such dominoes, they will not fall. When supporters, collaborators, and understanding people present to fill in the gaps, the energy of empathy can create a chain of events, and social problems can be resolved at an accelerated pace.”
During the Q&A session, participants from the social sector asked questions about the sense of challenge felt in the actual field. One participant said, “I am usually conscious of working in a way that evokes empathy, but I find it difficult to strike a balance between technique and emotion.” Another participant expressed, “I feel that each department in the same organization has a different target for empathy. The ability to set up a common field is important, but there may be an approach to improving the quality of empathy.” Adjunct Professor Uo responded, “It is said that empathy fatigue occurs due to the conflict between technically creating empathy and subjectively feeling empathy. Only you can find the best solution, but it is effective to raise your own empathetic tendency, in other words, to raise your base of empathy for a variety of subjects.” He added, “An organization with diverse antennae of empathy is a rather favorable state from the perspective of social innovation. On the other hand, it is also important to have a mechanism to refine these antennae, and by sharing individual stories, it is possible to create a chain of empathy through a mutual common understanding of what each of us values.”
Shizenkan University has a curriculum designed to help students gain an essential understanding of all the societal issues and the methodologies to solve them. Adjunct Professor Uo says, “In traditional business schools, you might learn computer applications, but at Shizenkan, the operation system changes. It means that a change in thinking itself takes place.” We invite you to experience how learning at Shizenkan will change the way you look at the world.
For more event information, please check our upcoming open class schedule here.