Everyone likes a good story. We all know the story of Adam and Eve….I could tell you the story of how I got my first job and I would be interested to hear the story of how you fell in love. The age old tradition of story telling is as relevant as ever and I believe an underutilized tool for knowledge sharing and communications.
Still, in some circles, the use of story telling techniques are getting peoples’ messages heard. Moreover these people are facilitating the changes they want to see. A leader of narrative in the KM world, Steve Denning, uses the example of Al Gore. From 2000 to 2006 he managed to shift his ‘narrative’ to one that has inspired millions of people to start believing climate change is real as well as make him a transformational leader more broadly.
I am increasingly convinced of the benefits of story telling. In our 21st century cyber toolbox, Blogging is probably one of the simplest story telling tools for sharing knowledge. When I explain KM concepts like peer assist, the only way people really grasp it – is through stories of its use and impact. The story at the beginning of this video I made for a local project illustrates how getting peoples’ attention, stating clear goals and providing an emotional connection – key elements of a good story- all contribute to inspiring active change.
In 2006 I attended a knowledge management workshop in Brighton where we were asked to define KM. The response by a Swiss practitioner has stuck with me. He said, “Who did you talk to this week and what did you learn?” Upon reflection, I think he was asking for a story!