Weeknotes #01 –Empathy Talks Ep01

9–13 November

Kate Goodwin
3 min readNov 13, 2020

Good things

Spreadsheets creating warm fuzzies

Who knew a spreadsheet could feel so nice. The Revenue sharing sheet (template kindly shared by Lina Patel) we’re using to determine individual and shared contributions to our Empathy Talks educational experiment has helped us understand each others motivation and willingness to engage in the work, and see each other as more than just delivery robots. Money surfaces values.

As Lina says in this thread:

“Kate you also know my feelings about money / revenue sharing … I worked out at some point that if we can talk about money, then we’ve covered a lot of good ground. That’s the kind of ground I want to cover before I link arms with others.

This feels so fitting in the design of Empathy Talks. Yay.

Idea coming to life!

Tasman Papworth shared a brief Loom (great quick-share tool!) runthrough of his Empathy Talks interaction design idea, building on Sebastian Wolf Siebzehnruebl’s original proposition. The three core qualities of an Empathy Talk are becoming clearer:

  1. Creating safe and brave space
  2. Inviting people to be reflective and reflexive
  3. Enabling Talks to be run autonomously, straight out of the box
via Behance



“Addressing polarisation is first point to create democratic space for discussion.”

I heard this earlier in the week in the context of qualities of democracy. Immediately thought of Empathy Talks, and then of the Lewis Deep Democracy method, for “… engaging with different views and resolve conflict thereby unearthing creativity, innovation and transformation.”

Maybe this is something we can explore in Talk design.

Ladder of Inference

The emerging Talk design weaves in the Ladder of Inference, so participants:

  • Observe what they experience
  • Identify patterns and connections within themselves and between themselves and other people = empathy!
  • Look forward with this new information to form and articulate their needs, wishes, and intentions
  • Are heard by — and hear — all the other participants do the same

Reading into the Ladder led me to an article on the potential dangers of climbing it which I’ve shared back with the team for consideration.


I haven’t had time or headspace to design prototype Miro boards for the Talks. Then I realised I needed to make sense of the interaction design first. Classic cart (Kate) before horse move. Whoa Nelly.


I was not able to give much time or energy to ETalks this week, but will pick up again when the pilot is locked in: material design beckons!

No doubt. By David Shrigley.


Dates are being finalised for a Talk pilot in Berlin in the next few weeks. And there’s positive signs our first ‘live’ Talk in Poland is coming together; in part this feels due to a lovely synergy between the Berlin & Rybnik teams as we establish the site and participants.

Also the Empathy Talks crew adopted an official emoji 🥰

Week in a GIF

(idea pinched from Kai Brach /Dense Discovery. Danke.)



Kate Goodwin

Systems, strategy, design. Creative experiments in life, work and play. http://matchbox.studio