How do we have empathy & how does culture start?

I started my blog in March and @theg has been a great supporter, thank you Guillaume!

He kindly shared this TedTalk with me and it blew my mind. It explains a lot of things: the ‘true social nature of the brain‘, how we have empathy, how culture spreads so quickly and why autism occurs. Further reading re-emphasised why companies customer service is so key and it’s good to see when brands put so much focus on their customers (and empathy towards them).

I’m not going to say much more but check out this video on mirror, otherwise known as Ghandi neurons.

Would love to hear any thoughts.

Here are a few great tips for improving empathy.


The power of smiling


There’s an American study that was published on children and their relationship to smiling. It showed that children smile around 400 times a day, while adults smile 14 times a day. Big difference hey.

As we grow older we seem to forget how to smile.

This is why we should all smile more…


Kony vs. Clooney


Awareness: We all know of the KONY video (Make Kony Famous), which is the most viral in history, to date. A major criticism of the Invisible Children campaign was that the LRA had significantly weakened in recent years though, and the organisation overstated the army’s current power. Oh and then Jason Russell’s hospitalisation for brief psychosis of course, which has naturally undermined the campaign for lots of people.

Action: they have since come out with a less glorified follow up video (Beyond Famous), which has received 1.5 million views compared to the original film’s 87 million, which is a shame as phase 2 is even more important. I’ll be keeping at eye out for April 20th to see what the impact of ‘Cover the night’ is.


Rehabilitation: Phase 1 accomplished its role in making Kony famous globally but what else can be done, other than capturing him (which may be unlikely). For a good round-up, check out this interview with Finck from Invisible Children headquarters, as they’re doing some great work in Uganda i.e. rehabilitation in communities and investment in education with their amazing Schools for Schools programme.

Prevention: They are now working with local partners tracking LRA movements, using an early warning radio network for local communities, so they have time to escape.

Collective responsibility: The ultimate dream is that ‘We’re a global community protecting each other’ (Luis Moreno-Ocampo ICC)


Awareness: I’m sure you’ve all seen Clooney’s very visible arrest orchestrated for the cameras for exposure. I have to say, I did cynically think Jason Russell’s odd behaviour was done for the same reason, to help with phase 2.

Prevention: Clooney has taken an innovative approach to trying to prevent atrocities.  He came up with the idea to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor areas, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP). He spoke to Google and the satellite company DigitalGlobe to help set it up and it’s funded by him. The team can issue a warning, giving an opportunity for many to flee, meaning they can have an impact in saving lives too.

Documentation: The imagery is so accurate it can be used to monitor massacres and mass graves. So it will help gather evidence which can be used in future war crimes tribunals, for Sudanese leaders.


Conclusion: It’s too early to tell whether Kony v.s Clooney has a conclusive hero, so I’ll be revisiting this debate. Great to hear any thoughts…..

Pay It Forward – Stranger kindness

I’ve been on the hunt for stories about kindness, how one person has helped another and discovered something very exciting. Something much bigger, that can connect people across the world no matter what their religion is, through simple methods – stranger kindness.

What is the Pay it Forward movement

The beauty of it is in it’s simplicity, the Pay it Forward bracelet, which acts as a reminder, something to pass onto a stranger, which creates the ripple effect: ‘Some people call us crazy, we prefer visionaries. The ideology behind “Pay it Forward” allows us the freedom to look at life from a different perspective.’

The concept is actually something that’s been around since 317 BC and Benjamin Franklin re-discovered it in 1784. In 1944 to gained traction with the development of what became the Heifer Project, whose core strategy was passing on the gift:

‘each participating family would study animal husbandry and agree to Pass on the Gift, to donate any female animal offspring to another family. In this fashion, he imagined that a single gift would multiply far beyond the original investment’

The history of Pay it Forward

Pay it Forward isn’t something new, it has a very long history. Why hasn’t it become more mainstream and part of what we’re taught at school? Why don’t we have a Pay it Forward day, to help raise the level of consciousness?

It’s incredible on so many levels, their ambition is 1 billion bracelets worldwide and I’m pretty sure Charley will reach this. He’s a very busy man but kindly did a video interview for me to answer some questions I had, which you can watch below.


They’re doing a worldwide book flash mob on March 28th at 4pm and here’s how you can get involved. They’d like to set a Guinness Book of World Records. Or if you’re not around then, do something nice on the Pay it Forward Day April 26th. This video is not quite the Kony video, maybe that’s because it’s not as sensational but it is realistic and a ‘Idea worth spreading’ (which Tedx guests agree with).