The title of this blog came from a quote about narrative from Linda Florence, a presenter at the Narrative in Practice symposium on Saturday. Today I will simply present a collection of other key quotes about narrative from all the presenters which I find fascinating in how much they overlap, intertwine and dare I say it, entangle with the way we make sense of narrative in KM and how in particular we explain the use of sensemaker. More information about each speaker and links to websites etc are available here.
Narrative is how we understand things as opposed to how they really are – Je Ahn & Maria Smith
Every concious act is filtered through some story, a pattern matching game, constructing through associations – memories, imagined futures and narratives. It is through these associations we make sense of the world. – Stephen P. Anderson
Narrative seems to be one of the main ways we conserve our personal and group identities, and how we get a picture of time. – Tricia Austin
Narrative creates communities from strangers – communities of experiences shared. – Scott Burnham
Narrative is pattern. When narrative patterns break, often its the break that most clearly reveals the patterns themselves. – Ian Curry
Narrative is a sequence of events interpretted by the storyteller and re-interpreted by the listener – Caf Fean
Everyone has a story to tell – Lucy Macnab
We sleep well when the audience gets the story to the point they care and want to take it somewhere we could not think of ourselves – Kelsey Snook & Melissa Mongiat
Narrative is the glue, the thread, the angle, the order… – Julia Pitts
Narrative is the ordering system that binds things together into a coherent experience – Matt Wade
Every pattern has a story to tell – Linda Florence
Narrative is the means by which we make sense of the world. Our understanding is affected by the story we bring with us to a situation. – Rakhi Rajana
It was Rakhi who really made me sit up and realise the entanglement between this world of design and the world of KM. I asked her afterwards what relation she was to Dave Snowden but he was an unknown unknown to her.
She explained how our sensemaking consists essentially of an INPUT which we then PROCESS leading to a BEHAVIOUR REACTION. Our personal perpective then affects this PROCESSING. Such perspectives include our background, upbringing, education, principles. How we process the input then depends on our current rational, emotional and physical state.
In a parallel to the Steve Denning springboard story form, Rakhi told us of neurological research on neural coupling where the speaker and listener come together in the telling of a story. Hooked up to brain scanners we can see that the storyteller and listener both hear the words at being spoken at exactly the same time, and the same neurons fire in both brains at exactly the same time. That is until the listener starts to predict what is coming (the essential element in a springboard story) and the neurons of the listener start to fire ahead of the storyteller. (making them believe it was their own idea, and that they feel inspired into action).
Finally, saving the best till last (for me at least) Rakhi explained how the INPUTS construct our world and shape our behaviour. By means of pattern recognition, symbols and metaphors, we chunk and associate these INPUTS into a personal version of the story that makes sense. Then she explained that
We cannot understand the world outside of our understanding of the world
More inspiring design examples tomorrow in part 3