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This Entrepreneur Turned His 'Emotional Rock Bottom' Into an Empathy Movement, Fueled by a Thought-Provoking Card Game That Sold Out in 5 Days

Entrepeneur 24 Jun 2021 02:15
This Entrepreneur Turned His 'Emotional Rock Bottom' Into an Empathy Movement, Fueled by a Thought-Provoking Card Game That Sold Out in 5 Days
Image credit: Courtesy of Curiosity Lab
6 min read

“What is something you pretend to know about, and why?” 

The question appears on a light blue card decorated with four gender-neutral faces, their eyes shut. As you move through the deck, the card colors change — to green to yellow to pink — and the eyes gradually open. The designs reflect the nature of the questions; those printed on blue cards are the least probing, perhaps the most approachable, while those on pink pose deeper, more controversial queries: “Can violence ever be justified? In what circumstances?”

The game is called Actually Curious, and the objective isn’t to win or lose, but to “get real” with the other players, strengthening an empathy-driven movement of human connection. Curiosity Lab, a group of idealistic marketers who aim to harness the power of consumerism and entertainment to alter the way people behave, created the game in 2018. 

Michael Tennant is the man behind the marketing group, and the game. Since its inception, Actually Curious has become a viral hit, one endorsed by Beyoncé and major media outlets. Tennant has even been dubbed an “empathy expert” by The New York Times. Last year, in the span of six months, Curiosity Lab generated more than $400,000 in revenue, and the company has grown 500% year over year. But the road to Tennant’s enormously popular empathy movement was a difficult one. 

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TennantCuriosity LabMichael TennantBeyoncCuriosity Lab