DO EMPATHY – Challenge

Online 4.–6.9.2020*

A three-day ONLINE challenge focused on co-creating empathic solutions and reducing hate speech in society.

The challenge brought together passionate people from diverse backgrounds and provided them with the tools to make a real difference. The solutions were anything from social media campaigns, apps and events to products, business ideas and scalable brand concepts. 

The chosen participants  took part in facilitated workshops and had access to tailored mentoring from experts over the weekend on 4-6 September. The weekend culminated with every team pitching their concepts and solutions to the judges.

* Information regarding the postponed Do Empathy challenge weekend and our response to COVID-19:

The challenge took take place online on 4-6 September 2020.

THEME 1 / Real Talk

[real talk]

“A term used for talking about things that are profound or meaningful. The philosophy of talking openly and honestly without fear of what others might think.”

The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) challenged to create real and honest discussions about culture and identity on social media. The goal was to develop concepts that build equal and constructive dialogue online. How do we create a platform where people from diverse backgrounds can have a sense of belonging?

THEME 2 / Empathic Communities


“An interacting population of like-minded individuals, affecting the identity of the given members and also their cohesiveness.”

People are meant to connect: with others, nature, places, animals… you name it. Together with the Finnish Refugee Council’s Empathy Movement encouraged everyone to increase empathy in our everyday lives. How do we build empathic communities, where anyone and everyone can feel welcomed? What kind of communities do we want to see in the future?


A dream come true.

Tailored mentoring, guidance and new contacts – In short, Do Empathy provided participants everything they needed to develop an impactful idea that could take us towards a more empathic world. 

An inspiring weekend.

New friends, an amazing experience and a lot of food for thought. To enable intensive creating, the teams are also provided with food and online working facilities.

A chance.

This was challenge with no traditional prizes. Instead, the teams had the chance to further improve their ideas and possibly turn them into reality with the help of Vikes and Pakolaisapu.


The participants were chosen based on their motivation and enthusiasm as well as competence and expertise relevant to the themes of the challenge.

The program was held in English. 


Application period starts
Application deadline
Accepted applicants are informed at the latest
FRI 4.9. (16-21)
Opening workshop
SAT 5.9. (9-18)
Workshops, mentoring & pitch training
SUN 6.9. (9-14)
Finishing touches
SUN 6.9. (14-18)


  1. Due to COVID-19 the challenge has been moved online and will take place on Zoom. Helsinki Think Company is following the official guidelines from the University of Helsinki considering organizing events in fall 2020.
  2. Application period for Do Empathy Challenge starts 26 February and ends 26 August. Individuals, pairs and teams selected to join the challenge will be notified by 28 August. The hackathon weekend takes place on Fri 4 – Sun 6 September.
  3. As a participant, your team commits to attending the hackathon weekend on 4-6 September online via Zoom. Participation also requires independent work outside of the workshops during the weekend.
  4. The participants are chosen based on their motivation and enthusiasm as well as competence and expertise relevant to the themes of the challenge.
  5. The program’s language is English.
  6. The program is free for all participants. Participants won’t be charged any fees, given that they fill in the feedback form after the program.
  7. The ideas born and developed throughout the program are entirely owned by the teams themselves.
  8. Helsinki Think Company reserves the right to showcase the Do Empathy Challenge teams and projects in events and marketing. Photographs and video material can be shot during the program, and Think Company reserves the right to publish this material.
  9. The expert jury nominated by the organizer chooses the winning team.
  10. The winning team will have the opportunity to further refine their idea with experts from Pakolaisapu and Vikes. All of the teams will gain new contacts and tools to make a real impact. Participants can obtain a certificate of attendance of the hackathon weekend if desired.

No. To create something multidisciplinary and truly new, you can’t draw too many lines. People are amazing no matter where they study or work. Everyone interested can apply to join the challenge!

Attending to the challenge is free. Helsinki Think Company organizes events and programs for free and everyone is welcome to join.

Yes. We encourage people to apply by themselves or with a peer or even with a team. Helsinki Think Company puts together people from different backgrounds to shuffle things up and to create multidisciplinary solutions.

If you have any questions about Do Empathy challenge or other Helsinki Think Company’s programs,  please don’t hesitate to contact: