Business needs to be human. That was one of the main points that brought together speakers of TEDxSoMa last Friday in San Francisco. Being human means bringing empathy, community and meaning to business. These are the three key i

deas for three highly inspiring speakers who want to change the world by optimizing our behavior in the realms of enterprise and business.

Dev Patnaik, CEO of the California growth strategy firm Jump, pitched the idea that empathy is the best way for businesses to really understand their market and grow. The author of Wired to Care explains how companies prosper when they create widespread empathy. The concept of empathy is a way for businesses to see clients as humans rather than only customers and understand them by first knowing themselves. Patnaik believes that this form of compassionate interaction will be the future of marketing for successful business.

Jeffrey Betcher, local community organizer and social entrepreneur, shared his experience in local, sustainable practices and social cohesion building. For him, local community and the culture of sharing are the most qualitative ways to drive a business or manage projects. Taking care of people by building social projects on a local scale leads to sustainable business growth and value-driven experiences.

Empathy and community were brought together in a truly inspiring talk on the importance of meaning as a way to drive a business. Nathan Shedroff, chair of a ground-breaking MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, CA, shared his experiences on meaning and innovation making. He invited businesses to create meaning for people in order to bring and share values such as priority and expression. Some of the inspiring meanings that can drive a successful business that he referenced were accomplishment, beauty, community, creation, freedom and justice.

At the end of the day, these inspiring speakers are all driven by bringing people back to business. Empathy, community, and meaning are three ways of sharing the same idea: by conducting business without thinking about individuals, we have forgotten what is truly important - happiness.

By Mathilde Berchon