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Posted September 22, 2000
How storytelling ignites change
¿Let me tell you what happened in a little town in Zambia in 1995.¿ With these innocent-sounding words, we begin a journey that takes us not only to Zambia but to Chile, Yemen, London, Bern, Bangui, Pakistan, and Washington D.C.. In the process, we discover the extraordinary power of storytelling to transform individuals, organizations and ourselves. The Springboard tells how storytelling was used as a springboard to help catalyze change in a large organization. Telling a story helped enable and accelerate change by providing direct access to the living part of the organization. Storytelling helped communicate complicated change ideas while generating momentum towards rapid implementation. Thus when correctly applied, storytelling is not simply about talk, but can lead directly to action. The change in this case happened to involve the introduction of knowledge management, but the story is not so much about this particular change idea - whether you call it knowledge management, knowledge sharing, intellectual capital management, best practice management, the learning organization, or whatever - but about the process of communicating complex change ideas and get rapid action towards implementation. Similarly, the story is not so much about the particular organization in which the change was adopted - as it happens, the international organization known as the World Bank - but about the dynamics of any large organization struggling to adjust the bewilderingly rapid shifts in the 21st century global knowledge economy. You will recognize in these pages the scene of any large organization, including the struggle to learn and understand what is going on in the organization, and the struggle to convince the organization to enter into a new future. The Springboard shows how storytelling can help transform an organization and enable the organization reinvent itself as a new organization. Storytelling gets inside the minds of the individuals who collectively make up the organization and affects how they think, worry, wonder, agonize and dream about themselves and in the process create and recreate their organization and their lives. Storytelling enables the individuals in an organization to see themselves and the organization in a different light, and, through storytelling take decisions and change their behavior in accordance with these new perceptions, insights and identities. Using storytelling to effect organizational change shows the power of narrative modes of communication, in comparison to analytic abstract thinking. The Springboard is the first book to teach storytelling as a powerful and formal discipline for organizational change and knowledge management. Readers will learn how organizations can use stories to distill and share valuable insights and solutions. The book provides easy-to-use guidelines for how to collect, frame and tell these stories. More information about the The Springboard is available at the author¿s website at: www.stevedenning.com, including what readers think: e.g. ¿¿ the best thing that I have ever read on corporate communication:¿ John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox PARCWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.