Storytelling 
Passport to the 21st Century
John Seely Brown, Steve Denning, 
Katalina Groh, Larry Prusak: 
Some of the world's leading thinkers
explore the role of storytelling in the world

 I Introduction to storytelling I John Seely Brown on science I Steve Denning on change I Katalina Groh on video
Larry Prusak on organization I Discussion I | Contact us | Bibliography on storytelling

Why has the world gotten interested in storytelling? 
   Why storytelling?
    Storytelling works. The simple reason why storytelling is becoming a major factor in management and organizations is that it works. Purposeful storytelling can get results in the modern organization that traditional abstract modes of communications can’t.
    An old technology with a modern use. It draws on aspects of human nature of which we are barely aware and makes use of a delivery system that is as old as civilization itself – the spare evocative story – storytelling recovers a technique for inviting people into the process of change. 
   A powerful technology: Purposeful storytelling can reach large numbers of people, amazingly rapidly. People get the idea, not slowly and painfully by the accumulation of evidence and meticulous elaboration of multiple 
dimensions. With storytelling, people can get the idea in a flash. 
   Getting results now: Purposeful storytelling is a tool for getting thing done in the world, getting business results. Storytelling delivers. Because it delivers so quickly, it is in tune with the web-speed economy.
    The technology is free: Storytelling doesn’t require expensive investments in hardware or software. It doesn’t involve recruiting expensive experts. Storytelling is the ultimate low-cost high-return technology. 
    Everyone already a storyteller:  We start learning to tell stories and listen to stories at the age of two, and spend the rest of our lives telling stories. Storytelling is so pervasive that we are as unconscious of it as we are of the air we breathe. It is something we know already how to do.
    Everyone can be a better storyteller:  Though we all tell stories all the time, we are often unaware of it. Once we realize what are doing, we can all learn not only to become better storytellers but also to use storytelling to business results.
    Everyone can get results from storytelling:  The understanding of storytelling and the development of technique enables one to use get organization and management results from storytelling. It’s the purposeful telling of stories, not accidental narrative. 
    We need to unlearn what we have been (mis)-taught.  We start out life as storytellers, and then we are taught at school to unlearn this technology, to use abstract language. We are taught that knowledge is abstract and storytelling is for children. In our private lives, we ignore the advice. But the same technology can also be used at work. We need to realize that stories not only function socially but can be used for serious purposes to get results fast.
Books and videos on storytelling 
*** In Good Company : How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work
by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak (February 2001) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
(February 2000) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Springboard : How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Stephen Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann 
*** The Art of Possibility, a video with Ben and Ros Zander : Groh Publications (February 2001)
Copyright © 2001, Stephen Denning, 
The views expressed on this website are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of any person or organization
Photo credit: Stephanie Denning
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