We each have an inherent desire to maximize social impact. This desire can manifest as a simple attempt to brighten someone’s day (A friendly “hello, how are you?”) or a professional career aimed at advancing the public good. However, how do we define “social impact” or “the public good”? These are subjective phrases rooted in perspectives or beliefs stemming from personal experiences. True impact is inclusive, therefore, we must acknowledge the limits of advancing the good merely from our own beliefs. To accelerate this explorative process there are tools in place to help you discover, accept, and learn from the perspectives of others. Let us take a look at the framework behind these resources and work together to create an inclusive version of the public good!
Through the use of the CSIS Independent Learning tool Empathy Map and the CSIS resource post Belief is Complicated, we will explore the importance of unpacking belief or perspective. This exploration can serve as a launching point to create an environment open to ingenuity and empathic thought. Best said in a Topic monologue by Krista Tippett, Founder, and CEO of the On Being Project, “these lives we lead… [are] always messier and stranger and less predictable than we want it to be.” Let us use this moment to embrace, accept, and enable the diversity of experience.
An Empathy Map places your beneficiaries or other key stakeholders at the center by developing an understanding of their perspective. This tool allows an individual to identify the gaps that social impact leaders are tasked to fill, however, why employ it? This post is an opportunity to explore the underlying utility of an empathy map; Its ability to create a connection that leads to inclusive impact.
Impact begins with connection and authentic connection is created through acknowledging and valuing the perspective of those you serve. What does it mean to “Acknowledge”? How can you truly “Value”? These questions not only are at the forefront of innovation, but can deepen relationships between stakeholders, loved ones, and the hundreds of individuals we encounter daily.