The Springboard

The Springboard

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by Stephen Denning

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The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations is the first book to teach storytelling as a powerful and formal discipline for organizational change and knowledge management. The book explains how organizations can use certain types of stories ("springboard" stories) to communicate new or envisioned strategies, structures, identities,


The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations is the first book to teach storytelling as a powerful and formal discipline for organizational change and knowledge management. The book explains how organizations can use certain types of stories ("springboard" stories) to communicate new or envisioned strategies, structures, identities, goals, and values to employees, partners and even customers.

Readers will learn techniques by which they can help their organizations become more unified, responsive, and intelligent. Storytelling is a management technique championed by gurus including Peter Senge, Tom Peters and Larry Prusak. Now Stephen Denning, an innovator in the new discipline of organizational storytelling, teaches how to use stories to address challenges fundamental to success in today's information economy.

Editorial Reviews

Denning, a manager at the World Bank, explains how to yoke the venerable art form to the service of capitalist competition. More specifically, he says, it can be used to teach organizational change; knowledge management; and new or envisioned strategies, structures, identities, goals and values to employees, partners, and customers. He does not index his work. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"One of the more interesting and creative management books of the past few years, The Springboard reflects Denning's strong belief in stories as encapsulated knowledge and his own stories about the World Bank are strongly illustrative of his own passion and knowledge. Read it, and learn from it, and enjoy it!"
—Larry Prusak, Executive Director, IBM Institute for Knowledge-Based Organizations

"For me, reading The Springboard was just that, an amazing spring board for better understanding how to bring strategic change to organizations, how to communicate in ways that impact skeptical audiences and in general, how to rethink knowledge management from a customer perspective. It is also the best thing I have ever read on corporate communication."
—John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp,
Co-author of The Social Life of Information

What is it that makes up such a springboard story? The author vividly and openly shares with us his experiences within the bank and outside as the new knowledge management processes are supported, developed and embedded. He includes other springboard stories and, most importantly for his readers, the nature of effective springboard stories is generalised. You will find yourself working up your own and trying them. Here is a powerful tool for managers of change.
Professional Manager

One picture is worth more than a thousand words. A well-told springboard story jump-starts the actions that reports fail to inspire. Stephen Denning has given managers a new way to make things happen.
Professional Manager

This is how all management books should be: creative, informative and entertaining. It is a compelling read for anyone involved with change or anyone who just likes a good story.
Sheila Bullas(director Health Strategies Ltd), for The British Journal of Healthcare Computing

Storytelling is a powerful and formal discipline for organisational change and knowledge management. Explains how organisations can use certain types of stories to communicate new or envisioned strategies,structures, identities, goals /7 values to employees, partners & customers. Personnel Today

Stephen Denning is to be roundly applauded for re-opening the book on storytelling as being at the centre of human communication, knowledge transfer and consequent decision-making. His Springboard story is a very specific story-form, honed to be effective in the context of 21st century organisational change.
Knowledge Management

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Program director for knowledge management at the World Bank, the massive international financial organization (it lends approximately $30 billion each year). He contributes to knowledge management and organizational learning publications and presents very frequently at leading professional management conferences.

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The Springboard 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stephen Denning is the senior executive responsible for knowledge management at the World Bank. As the author of several well-received books on the power of corporate storytelling, Denning is a recognized guru and pretty much dominates the storytelling franchise among business writers. He believes that simple stories, told face-to-face, possess a remarkable ability to convey information so that people readily understand it. Just as important, stories can be extremely inspirational if you tell them the right way. Use this powerful narrative technique to introduce new organizational strategies or change plans, to detail a corporate vision, to motivate employees, and to communicate with customers and other key external audiences. If you handle corporate communication, this book shows you how to put storytelling to work to boost your performance. We regard Denning as an innovative thinker and communicator, and recommends his thoughtful, valuable book. In fact, this book is worthwhile for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate more effectively, regardless of the purpose or circumstances.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿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:, including what readers think: e.g. ¿¿ the best thing that I have ever read on corporate communication:¿ John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox PARC