The Empathy Game

Fuelling Connection Through Empathy

On their quest of changing the world, our alumni are constantly channeling their learning experiences into new initiatives, ventures and business opportunities around the globe. 

To see what’s new in the world of empathy, we recently synced with Jorik Elferink and Saskia Herrmann, two alumni who just launched a new gaming experience that seeks to fuel deeper connections between people.

Tell us a little bit about the two of you. You met at Hyper Island, right?

Yes, we met at Hyper Island in Amsterdam where we did an accelerated course on experience design. We both had gone through relatively traditional educational Bachelor and Masters programmes before. Hyper Island introduced us more to human centered design and team development. This put us on the path we are on now.

What has been your journeys and biggest learnings since graduating Hyper Island?

Jorik: I started facilitating teams during my time at Hyper Island and found it very rewarding. I learned a lot by leading teams through different processes. It forced me to think way deeper about team development and design thinking. So I kept at it and have been freelance ever since we graduated. Definitely a struggle to start out with so little experience. But believing in what you do is a great motivator. Now we’re almost three years further and I work with a lot of inspiring people who want to create a better future for the planet and people. That’s what drives me forward.

Saskia: Hyper Island showed me that there’s a dash of magic in simply trying things: making myself vulnerable to others, acknowledge one another, make things, fail, make something else and learn from it collaboratively. I have learned to be more fearless in trying out things, approaching people to collaborate, and to be conscious of how to collaboratively design more human processes and team cultures. I also learned to make choices so that the things I do further understanding, add value to people’s lives and to social good.

Now you just launched the Empathy Game, what was the idea behind it?

We wanted people to experience what a deep connection feels like. What it feels like to really listen and respond, to see the humanity in each other.

About one year after Hyper Island we reflected on our friendship and pondered about how we had reached such a deep understanding of each other. We realized that the process of continuous reflection and self-awareness, of open feedback, of actively shaping a team culture, and of understanding the needs and feelings of people you create something for,  profoundly shaped our friendship.

We took these reflections as a starting point to build something to share with people they could use to self-facilitate. We wanted something people could use to playfully connect on a deeper level whenever and wherever they want to.

Hyper Island showed me that there’s a dash of magic in simply trying things: making myself vulnerable to others, acknowledge one another, make things, fail, make something else and learn from it collaboratively.

Why do you think empathy is so important?

If we want more human-centred design for products, services, and company cultures, the leaders of tomorrow have to empathize. It’s these leaders who have to be able to have a holistic understanding of the system and its people, rather than taking profit as a starting point of their strategy.

Our generation is increasingly fed up with subjecting themselves to toxic work cultures, seeing the planet getting destroyed for profit, and global conflict.

In what ways should the Empathy Game be used?

The Empathy Game is for everyone, because we are all human. It’s a way to improve processes and facilitate a deeper connection between people.

How it works

The game is simple. You pick a card and tell your story, from the everyday to the fantastic. Afterwards the listeners engage with your story by throwing the dice and exploring elements of their human experience.

The Empathy Game encourages sharing, listening and engaging with our fellow humans. It’s the active act of recognition and vulnerability that brings us closer together, and what could be better than that?

Any final words?

Just a big shout out to fellow Hyper Island alumni, Rinske Spijkerman who did the visual design of The Empathy Game. She’s amazing!

Get The Game

We have a special Hyper Island 20% discount with the code HYPEREMPATHY01 if you order through our publisher. Valid until May 24th.