Strategic Use of Stories

In The Strategic Use of Stories in Organizational Communication and Learning, Terrence Gargiulo takes us through a working model for successful organizational storytelling. For anyone interested in using story as a powerful vehicle for elicting experiences in order to provide our imaginations with a canvas for knowledge transfer and learning, the working models provided are a great resource. Gargiulo provides nine functions of organizational storytelling as tools for transformation:

  1. to empower a speaker
  2. to create an environment
  3. to bind and bond individuals
  4. to support and maintain active listening
  5. to negotiate differences
  6. to encode information
  7. to act as a tool for thinking
  8. to act as a weapon
  9. to act as medicine for healing

The quickest path between yourself and another person is a story.  This book provides invaluable information as to why and how.

The Strategic Use of Stories in Organizational Communication and Learning

Hamlet on the Holodeck – The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

For those of us who love the practice of storytelling as a tool for transformation, this book is a classic.  Written in 1997, MIT Professor Janet Murray explores the aesthetics of digital media and how technology can reshape the stories we live by.  Traditions of storytelling are continuous and loop into one another is both content and form.  Murray emphasizes that the most developed area of digital storytelling is in the area of computer games.  Gamers have a lot to teach us about a collaborative worldview, see Jane McGonigal at for some interesting observations.

At the 2010 DICE conference, Jesse Schell from Carnegie Mellon University, gives a thought-provoking perspective on how games and social media are are breaking through into our current reality.  What skills sets are being developed here?

Such a shift in business model is now mandatory – and looking at what has been accomplished in the last decade in gaming may give us a glimpse of the skill-set required for future organizational success. Gaming, perhaps, may offer the very skill set we need in future business leaders.

Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace

The Element

Ken Robinson is one of my favorites on  His original ted talk in 2006 on how our school system kills creativity is worth watching.  His second performance at Ted in 2010, Robinson’s focus is on our crisis in human resources – the lack of creativity.  He states that human resources are like natural resources – they are buried deep and you have to go digging for them. He calls for a revolution in education and I cannot agree more. Our schools are failing to develop the levels of creativity and innovation necessary to move us out of this economic crisis.  Robinson compares our current education system to fast food where everything is standardized to the lowest common denominator.  We need to do better if we are to survive.

In his new book, The Element, Robinson interviews some of the  most successful people on the planet to discover how found a way to live their passion and survive.  His point rests on our need for communities that have a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability.  If we focus on our passion – that which excites our spirit and our energy – what a difference it makes to the health and wealth of our organizations and our communities.

Food for thought for the summer.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything