Maximum storytelling

I have been asked to contribute a chapter to a new book on narrative and am still developing my ideas. In doing so I asked myself what ‘interventions’ I might recommend to an organisation looking to maximise its use of narrative in order to maximise knowledge sharing. Here are my first thoughts:

  1. Initiate a variety of narrative based events (‘experiments’) aimed at allowing people to personally see the benefit of a narrative approach. These can be introductory workshops, project reviews, lunchtime talks, celebrations etc.
  2. Maximise the opportunities for natural knowledge sharing and chance face to face encounters eg stairwells, corridors, photocopy/printer rooms, tea/coffee points, bird tables, coffee tables etc. This must be seriously considered when designing new buildings or moving to new premises.
  3. Lead by example. Newsletters, blogs and twitter can all be used to share knowledge in the ‘ideal’ form of personal recollections/reactions/perspectives especially when there is positive outcomes to share eg “we have just over achieved XYZ , and I felt so great when …”
  4. Ritualise anecdotal time/opportunities into existing processes eg regular slots at meetings, progress reporting and conferences.
  5. Feedback. Make sure you ‘big-up’, acknowledge, congratulate and where appropriate reward any initiatives aimed at using narrative or improving communication and knowledge sharing.

All of the above are consistent with the idea that an organisation is a complex adaptive system hence the provision of appropriate starting conditions, facilitation of emergence, seeding of attractors and nurturing/reinforcement by way of feedback.

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