Stories in a connected world
, Raphaël Briner
At the center of the Knowledge Sharing Canvas lies a beautiful component of knowledge sharing: stories.
Stories have the power to “connect” information with the recipients. Stories deepen the context; they build retrospective and prospective analyses. They announce, resonate, and change behavior. With them, we simply grow our chances to transform a piece of information into collective knowledge, and therefore receive larger-scale attention to make an impression on our co-workers and receive their Feedback in a recursive manner.
Stories are much more than simple communication tools. They bring meaning to work and can improve health of individuals, whether in their private or professional lives. Although their essence - namely the transfer of a real situation and learning experienced by oneself or a third party - has not been altered for centuries, their recurrent practice within the company and outside have undeniably increased. From now on, they are critical for any company desiring to place itself in the 21st century, an age bombed with Innovation and Connectivity.
The last 10 years have evolved very quickly from a technological, managerial and behavioral perspective. The world is more open to conversation and narration, and digital companies such as Facebook are working hard so that the entire world be connected and express itself. Stories are from then on universal, liquid, and multi modal. However they are not necessarily ubiquitous; they face voluntary silos as well as non-voluntary. A real paradox.
What is new: an agile and connected world
Virtual proximity with social networks
Digital platforms with a social layer are capable to generate this proximity allowing the propagation of these stories to people interested, with reusable knowledge.
Minimalism for tiny screens and curation for fast consuming
Today, stories are mostly minimal and incisive. The typical example is the billion updates shared on Twitter, which portray raw and impactful points of view.
Technologies and rich formats
New technologies will bring new possibilities to this day unimaginable, including within companies. Stories can therefore be made in multiple formats, from simple text to video and soon using augmented reality.
Inclusion of all employees
Stories can come from any employee or client. They are not set aside for leaders. The employee becomes more autonomous to communicate. He/she does it without real storytelling skills to produce pragmatic and simplistic stories.
What has not changed: the key principles
Each story represents an opportunity for self-improvement and to improve the organization. By compacting complex information, by transferring learning, by calling on the capacity to retrospect and to create, the employee demonstrates his/her contribution for reaching the objectives successfully. Today, we are faced with unforeseeable events and with the exponential acceleration of society. New knowledge is gained, independently from training programs. However, in order to make these stories efficient, we need to be aware of the following constraints:
- Listening and interpreting (“Storytelling organizational practices“, Boje, 2014)
- Disinterest and ethics (“Storytelling organizational practices“, Boje, 2014)
- Sincerity and authenticity (“Made to Stick, Cheap and Dan Heath, 2007)
- Simplicity through a certain linearity (“Telling your story“, Strategyzer & Kauffman Foundation, 2014)
- Surprise, humour and fiction (“The Reverse Brainstorming“, Victor Newman, 2008; “Speculative everything“, Anthony Dunne & Fionna Raby, 2013)
- Capacity to draw links and be creative (“When everybody designs“, Ezio Manzini, 2015)
- A longer lifetime than we think (“The Building blocks of a story“, Christina Wodke, 2016)
- Raison d’être, novelty, response capacity, complex problem solving, prejudice, links creation, new forms of knowledge
- Meaning on new business models and opportunities
- Part of daily work and making the employee happy, self-improvement