Storytelling and Innovation

This year the Golden Fleece storytelling weekend May 8-10 will have “Storytelling and Innovation” as its theme. More than 150 people are expected to gather in Washington to exchange ideas and experiences from using storytelling in organisational change initiatives.

One of the presenters will be my Metafari partner Leif Josefsson, who was invited to do a workshop at this event. He will, of course, tell the story of how the Metafari came about but also describe the storytelling ingredients in the program. I think he will even make the participants try some of the exercises we did during our learning journey.

The combination of Storytelling and Washington makes my mind wander to the ongoing election in the US. If you are interested in how storytelling can change politics, read the excellent book “Don’t think of an Elephant” where George Lakoff, an American cognitive scientist (or as he calls himself, a cognitiv activist) provides excellent advice to progressives on how to become better at framing the political debate. His other books such as "Whose Freedom? The Battle over America's Most Important Idea" and "Thinking Points" also seem very interesting.

Do you know of any other good books about how to frame political messages using storytelling and metaphors? Please write a comment and let us know!

PS Thank you Annet for the great elephant photo from our Metafari! I will also get such a nice camera sometime...


Lessons in Love

My Metafari friend Sonja told us a lovely story about love and learning. She is working as a volunteer, helping children with their homework. One of the boys she was helping did not show much interest in school work until one day when he declared that he wanted to know how to say “I love you” in various languages. This came as a surprise but was immediately used as a pedagogic approach.

Another lesson in love can be found in the Valentine entry in Wikipedia. This is an excellent example of good Knowledge Management, where you can find not only stories about the various Valentine saints but also information on how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different countries and cultures. The material is presented in various formats, with longer text combined with short overviews. The entry also includes many references, but the most exciting part is probably the indexing related to the Love series. Here we can find historical love references, but also various kinds of expressions of emotions such as erotic, familial, puppy, platonic or romantic love and so on.

"If we lose the time before us, the future will ignore us" Level42, "Lessons in Love"


September Renewal Residential 2008

Have you experience from using Appreciative Inquiry? Do you want to develop your skills by meeting others with similar interests in a beautiful environment where they serve absolutely lovely food? Well, then check out the September Renewal Residential at Bore Place! The Commonwork Centre at Bore Place is on a 500-acre organic farm in the Kent countryside and is part of a group of trusts and enterprises working towards sustainable solutions in farming, the environment and education.

Anne Radford and Jane Magruder Watkins are organising this event. I went to their workshop last summer and wrote “The Right Attitude to Rain” and “Say Yes to the Mess” there and took some lovely photos. I’m so proud Anne wanted to use some of them for this year’s workshop flyer!


What’s in a Name?

I like concepts such as Mobile Life and The Network Society much better than Embedded, Pervasive, Ambient and Ubiquitous technology. Seamless Force seems to me a much interesting concept than Network-Centric Warfare. Names matter because with them comes associations, contexts and underlying metaphors.

Yesterday I presented an outline of a course at the Swedish National Defence College. I have given the course the name “Embedded”. The name is in English, signalling its international focus. To be embedded is to be in something larger than yourself, but continuing to be a separate entity. This is very much the case when you do field research during peacekeeping and crisis management operations, which the course is all about.

Appreciative Inquiry and storytelling are used in several ways as a pedagogical foundation. The basic pulse for the course is when the participants meet and first listen to an inspirational presentation from someone with experience from the field, talking about common dilemmas. Examples of dilemmas are who should be selected for interviews, how to minimise risk for yourself and the ones you talk to while at the same time gather good data, and how to be of immediate use but also perform research for the future. After such a presentation, the group uses the AI workshop format to share experiences and extract Lessons Learned to be put in a handbook. The examination task is to put together a plan for how to conduct a field research trip. Hopefully, the participants also realise that they can use Appreciative Inquiry as a technique and approach in their research but also when directly supporting the organisation they are embedded in.

Do you know of any similar course with respect to content or pedagogy? Write a comment and let me know!

PS. Thank you Mum for the wonderful winter rose!