As part of their introduction to Design Thinking, 2-1 got a crash course over 3 weeks on the idea of empathy.
First, they explored empathy boxes, collections of photos, mementos and knick-knacks that were artifacts from an unknown user's life. Each group was tasked with building a story about the user using each artifact as an element in the narrative.
The teams had a great time constructing stories about their unknown user. Many stories were globe-spanning histories involving families, love and unique experiences.
On hindsight, we would provide more explicit instructions for the groups to create stories about "real" people - one group spun a story about Santa Claus!