Preparations for the
April 12 2003 Smithsonian event
[ Introduction ] [ Jumpstart Storytelling ] [ Values ] [ Putting Story to Work ] [ Future Stories ] [ Springboard Stories ]
[ Seth Kahan ] [ Alicia Korten ] [ Rob Creekmore ] [ Madelyn Blair ] [ Steve Denning ] [ Paul Costello ]
[ Chronology of Storytelling ] [ Golden Fleece Group ] [ Dave's Story ] [ Preparing the story ]
|In preparing for the workshop, the six presenters met
a number of times. This was part of the discussion that took place on
March 7, 2003.
|You donít respond to it. And then ideally, those become
threads that you weave into the rest of the day, so that down the road
those stories live on.
Madelyn: We still need to have the right question to pose for the Jumpstart Storytelling, no?
PART OF A LARGER STORY
PICTURE OF THE DAY
Seth: Iím almost thinking of those old overhead transparencies. We start off with something that shows the larger stream. It seems to be converging. We have all these vectors. We could identify what are the major vectors that are leading into this new way of looking at the world? Thatís one slide. Then thereís a slide after weíve heard a couple of stories. Then we could put all the participants and have their little things that would symbolize their contribution to the Smithsonian. Then as we go though ďthe nowĒ, we could label springboard storytelling, jumpstart, the kind of things that are happening in the moment.
|And then at the end of the day when we map out possible
futures, we could just layer on top.
Madelyn: We can do it even more subtly than that and in a more sophisticated way. I donít know what that is yet.
Seth: This graphic comes from a classic from the philosophy on space and timeÖ.
Rob: It also ties in to the future search process, where you do the same thing.
Steve: One thing that slightly bothers me is that maybe they arenít all rockets shooting up into the sky. There will be some rockets falling back to earth.
Seth: Weíll find a different image for that! (laughter)
Madelyn: Thereís another image Ė a strange attractor. It is going round and round but it never touches.
Seth: Why donít we create this picture as a group. This is the straw man. Weíll take it apart, and maybe it will look totally different when weíre done. But it at least captures the seed of the ideaÖ. So whatís the story of the day?
THE STORY OF THE DAY
Rob: Is there a logical progression from one of these modules to another?
Alicia: Right! To me, the modules seem very much broken down into pieces. What I liked about Madelynís framework was that it felt more holistic.
Rob: It felt more like a story. A logical progression of eventsÖ.
Madelyn: Why donít you read those to us?
|Alicia: Culture, community building. creating identity
and linkages. Then sustaining ritual and value transmission. Then creating
vision for the
future. Responding to self-selected changesÖ
Seth: Jumpstart storytelling will make visible the values of the group, because the stories are chosen by the group. Itís based on which stories resonate with the most peopleÖ. Itís like the nursing story from last yearís Smithsonian. Or the Golden Fleece story. Thatís a story that we should tell. I donít know which version. But we need to get it in there. To me itís one of the most powerful stories. Now that Iím building this website, I find that.Boston is using it. Amsterdam has requested it. Iím looking at whatís happening out there. Itís a powerful storyÖ. You know, we have the boat! Ö and the scarves! (laughter)
Rob: Itís also about having a progression. It would be nice if this did somehow connect with a story that we could weave through the whole dayÖ
Stories generate the culture. And telling the stories say what the culture is. It seems to me that a lot of whatís going on in management circles is an interest in culture. A great story around that is the GTE story in 1995. They needed a different culture. All of this is around this issue of culture formation and transition from one culture to another. Itís walking them through the story of the organization.
Steve: The story we can tell isÖ our story. Take the movie, Adaptation. The movie is about the script writer who is given the impossible task of writing a movie about growing orchids in Florida. He ends up solving the problem by bringing his own story into it. Iím wondering whether we canít weave our story into this. Maybe we start out with the participantsí stories. But then we tell our story as a way of drawing on this larger stream of which we are a part. Maybe even share some of our agonies here. I mean, how could we communicate this? Weíre these six people. And youíre the participants, coming from all over, how could we do this? And so we thought about this, and we tried that, and what weíre going to do is, this! In this way, we bring everyone into our story. And maybe weave part of the values of the Golden Fleece group. Our visioning exercise. So they start to see our story as well as their own story.
Madelyn: I think that will happen very naturally.
Seth: I remember a menís gathering I went to. There was a kick-off with a fragment of a tale. The unfinished story stirred the group. People responded to the fragment. It can establish threads that weave throughout the day. And it works (laugher)
Rob: It related to an overarching theme of fathers and sons.
THEME OF THE WORKSHOP
Seth: We have the overarching theme, which is the blossoming of narrative as the legitimate toolset or process. Our story lies inside it. Maybe thereís a way that we could tell our story in pieces. Iím doing Jumpstart Storytelling. Maybe I could tell my story as
|part of setting that up. I might mention the Golden Fleece
group, working with Steve. I leave some loose threads. I donít really
have to follow them up. Then later, Steve tells his story. The stories
hang together, but they are told at different points, like milestones
during the day. Then when you start to see them as one story, you start
to realize that this is not six unconnected individuals: this is something
thatís happening as part of a larger pattern. These six individuals
are now presenting a workshop at the Smithsonian that we are all attending.
Why are we doing that? Because weíve been meeting together for more
than a year. And weíre all involved in these other activities that you
can be part of too. And now youíre story is part of this web of stories.
And we donít know whoís going to be doing the next Smithsonian. It might
Madelyn: And letís pull some stories from last year. It would show that continuity. Those stories arenít lost.
Steve: We could have people who were here last year show how their work was affected by last yearís event!
Seth: And other Golden Fleece members could share their stories as part of the day. This would show that itís not just us!
Madelyn: We just have to watch the time!
THE LARGER STORY
Rob: We could also tell the larger story, not just the Golden Fleece story, how this whole interest in storytelling has come about, and where itís going. So there was Golden Fleece that was bringing the people together. There was a springboard event, the original Smithsonian symposium. Then there was Paul giving us that initial process to help us form our initial identity and values. Then the values came in.
DO THE MODULES CONNECT?
Alicia: Itís nice to be able to keep the modules separate
but in fact you canít.
MULTIPLE LAYERS OF THE STORY
Bringing the people together
|Weíre expanding our impact, weíre becoming a benchmark
for other groups on organizational storytelling.
Steve: Sparks are flying all over the country. San Diego. Boston. Amsterdam. (laughter)
Rob: Todayís event is another example of that.
Madelyn: And itís because they heard a springboard story about this unusual group called Golden Fleece.
Alicia: What about ritual?
Seth: Thatís what the Jumpstart Storytelling is about. But that shouldnít be the only experiential element.
Rob: We need at least several.
Seth: Jumpstart Storytelling is just the beginning. Itís just the foot in the door. Thereís a long way to go from there.
Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Steve Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, USA
Paperback - 192 pages. ISBN: 0750673559
Squirrel: The Seven Highest Value Forms of Organizational Storytelling
by Steve Denning (work in progress)