A hat tip to my Argenta colleague Brian for referring me to this interesting article on ‘Why we need storytellers at the Heart of product development‘ on the UX Magazine website. The comments at the end are also particularly insightful.
In it the author Sarah Doody says:
Product storytellers think about the whole, and they see the big picture. But they also can go deep because they understand that the product’s true value lies in the details of its interactions and every touchpoint that a consumer has with it.
The first goal of a product storyteller is to facilitate collaboration and co-creation.
This insight is particularly serendipitous as I am currently making notes to support a forthcoming innovation facilitation training course I am preparing and keep falling back to my belief that stories and storytelling are both the starting conditions and building blocks for innovation. I found my well thumbed copy of De Bono on his ‘Letters to Thinkers‘ the other day in which he says:
Stories and metaphors are most useful for carrying lessons and principles … A story can show a type of relationship or process which then becomes a possibility. Once it has been thought a ‘thought’ cannot be unthought.
Ordinary language is rather poor at describing complex processes and relationships.
I can therefore see story and storytelling vital during the innovation/developmental process to share context, understanding and perspectives then once a solution emerged how to create what De Bono calls an ‘edge effect’ ie ‘creating an attractive position ahead’. This was particularly insightful of De Bono given this book was first published in 1987.
In a later letter on ‘Background Creativity’, de Bono states that:
The communicability of the benefits arising from an idea is even more important than the benefits themselves.
The selling of the idea should be designed into the idea in the first place.
So that’s an additional use to the cost benefit comparison method and a longer period in the ‘idea diamond’.
It looks like we need a new breed of storytelling engineers and innovators. Now where did I put my Steve Denning and Robert McKee books….