Chronology of storytelling


The story of organizational storytelling is as old as organizations themselves. Seth Kahan is putting together a chronology of some recent developments that have brought storytelling to the fore. Something missing? If you’d like to add an item, contact me (Steve Denning) at steve@stevedenning.comor Seth at

1973: 1st National Storytelling Festival, Jonesborough, Tennessee

1975: The National Association for the Perpetuation and  Preservation of Storytelling is formed

1980: Published The Forms of Autobiography by William Spengemann (New Haven, 1980) 

1981: Published: On Narrative by W.J.T. Mitchell (Chicago,                1981)

1988: Published:  Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, by Jerome Bruner (Harvard, 1986) 

1990: Published: Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, by Michael White & David Epston
           Acts of Meaning by Jerome Bruner (Harvard, 1990)

1992: Rick Stone starts the StoryWork Institute 
             Published: Managing by Storying Around, by David                   Armstrong

1993: Published: Corporate Legends & Lore: The Power of Storytelling as a Management 
             Tool, by Peg Neuhauser

1995: Institute for Narrative Therapy founded by Paul Costello, Harry Riekelman & Kathie 
             Published: Tell Me A Story: Narrative & Intelligence,  by Roger Schank & Gary 

1996: Karen Dietz begins collecting organizational mythologies in Fortune 500 companies
             Published: Studying Organizational Symbolism, by folklorist Michael Owen Jones
            "Narrative Rooms" and "Living Stories Process“ developed by Costello, Riekleman & 

1997: Think-tanks with the International Storytelling Center, Harvard, World Bank, Ernst & 
             Young, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Luscent, IBM 
            Institute for Narrative Therapy becomes Center for Narrative Studies 
            IBM launches Knowledge and Differentiation programme with Dave Snowden
            Steve Denning lays out the case for storytelling at the Business Intelligence conference, 

1998: National Association for the Preservation & Perpetuation of Storytelling becomes the 
            National Storytelling Network and the International Storytelling Center
            IBM Story Group forms
           "Springboard storytelling" underway by Steve Denning at World Bank, Washington, DC
           Victoria Ward, United Kingdom, begins work in narrative
           Fortune magazine publishes Tom Stewart article on  Storytelling

1999: US Office of Personnel Management provides a course in the Psychology of Influence, 
             featuring storytelling taught by Annette Simmons

2000: Jet Propulsion Laboratories begins its storytelling program, hosted by Teresa Bailey
            Karen Dietz, Polaris, training leaders as storytellers, using stories in product development, 
           marketing and fund raising
           Published: Project Management Success Stories, by Alexander Laufer and Edward 
           Published: Storytelling in Organizations, by Yiannis Gabriel
           Published: The Story Factor, by Annette Simmons 
          Published: The Springboard - How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-era 
           Organizations, by Steve Denning 
           Steve Denning presents on storytelling to American Productivity & Quality Center
           Stone & Denning present at the 28th annual National Storytelling Festival
           NASA begins Knowledge Sharing Initiative incorporating storytelling
           StorytellingInBusiness listserv started by Seth Kahan with 7 people 
           Dave Snowden & Steve Denning offer trial Storytelling Master Class in Boston 

2001: ASK Magazine premiers at NASA
           Online Symposium: Storytelling in Business
           Wash, DC Organizational Storytelling Group, Golden Fleece, begins (July) with 30 people 
           First Smithsonian Event: Steve Denning, Larry Prusak, John Seely Brown & Katalina
           Groh (April)
           Storytelling In Organizations Special Interest Group (SIO SIG) formed within the 
           National Storytelling Network
           Stone & Denning present at the 29th annual National Storytelling Festival
           Dave Snowden & Steve Denning offer first Storytelling Masterclass in London - 70 enroll;
           series is ongoing today

2002: Second Smithsonian Event: Denning & Kahan 
            Published: Making Stories by Jerome Bruner.
            GoldenFleece group doubles in size 
           SIO SIG first conference, attendance from around the world, listserv launched
           NYC Conference - Action Enabled Learning: The Power of Narrative
           First StoryCon Conference in Palm Springs         
           Center for Narrative Studies opens a series of seminars on "Becoming Storywise
           Published: Making Stories - A Practical Guide for Organizational Leaders and Human
           Resource Specialists, by Terrence. L. Gargiulo

2003: website is born, over 250+ active members in first 2 months
            Local Organizational Storytelling groups start up in San Diego, Amsterdam & Boston 
            April 11-13, 3rd Smithsoninan Event - Wash,DC - attendance from around the world.
            Published: "What's the Big Idea?" by Tom Davenport & Larry Prusak - highlights
                story as "the most important way" that new ideas are introduced into companies.
            Published: Harvard Business Review, June 2003 has lead article on "Storytelling That
            Move People", an interview with Robert McKee.

Tel 301 371-7100 :; www.Pelerei.Com
Steve Denning
Tel. 966 9392
 Tel  301 585-3610
Seth Kahan 
Tel 301 229-2221; Email:
Rob Creekmore
Tel. 703-435-4623

Tel.  202 364-5369;

To buy:
The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Steve Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, USA

          Paperback - 192 pages. ISBN: 0750673559 
To read 
of :
The Squirrel: The Seven Highest Value Forms of Organizational Storytelling
          by Steve Denning (work in progress) 
RECOMMENDED LINKS Copyright © 2000 Stephen Denning-The views expressed on this website are those of Stephen Denning, and not necessarily those of any person or organization.