Empathy in the Arts and Entrepreneurship

To have compassion is to feel for someone. To have empathy is to feel with someone, typically through having felt what the other is feeling. Empathy is an experientially based  understanding of another’s or others’ feelings and is far more powerful in shared experience than compassion alone. Empathy serves both artists and creative entrepreneurs in the creative process. When creative artist entrepreneurs seek to empathize (or allow themselves to do so), great things can occur.

Empathy serves an artist in that through empathizing with their audience, by knowing their audiences’ hopes, fears, desires, joys, sorrows and needs, they are better able to create with their audience in mind and thus more powerfully serve them and offer experiences that suit them. The way to do this is to communicate with them, to engage with them and to develop a relationship that fosters “true fans”. Thankfully, today, this can be accomplished through the world-wide web.

Empathy can serve to enable an entrepreneurially minded individual in understanding what needs their audience or customers may have and then serve those needs. This is typically done through the creation of a 501c3 (nonprofit) or a social entrepreneurship endeavor (often for-profit, but having a social giveback component and social cause). An example of a social entrepreneurship for-profit model includes a Limited Liability Company or LLC or a corporation, but could also serve as a nonprofit.

Creating out of a sense of empathy increases the potential for one’s concepts or ideas to resonate in the market. Creating out of empathy can also enable one to create out of a sense of “that which is universal in way of human need and condition”. When creative artists tap into the universal in the human condition, ideas have greater potential for both resonance and standing the test of time.

Jim Hart

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