by Kate Hammer on July 25th, 2012
I’ve been excited and (to be honest) touched by people’s responses to StoryFORMs. Here’s a snapshot of the highlights:
1) StoryFORMs first showing was at City University’s Innovation, Creativity and Leadership Day (#ICLCity2012) last month. A creative industries programme director made me immediately aware that the University has Research Fellowships available. My application is already in. Regardless of the outcome, I now find myself in conversation with professors at Cass Business School. Next week, I meet one of Cass’s professors. (American readers, professors here in Britain are the academic elite at every university with sufficient funding. Positions are awarded on merit, are fiercely competitive and very influential.) Here’s that talk:
2) Last week, I brought StoryFORMs to the Institute of International Research’s conference, Shopper Insights. With some beautiful stories and examples enriching my talk, I was able to engage a wide range of listeners. I’ve already heard from several research/insights directors, a digital manager, an anthropologist, a neuro-marketing expert, a category manager in the drinks sector, a technology marketer and others. The sense is strongly that StoryFORMs can help people refocus their marketing, change their mindset about their business, even “explode the business model” of a 40-year old services company.
Bringing StoryFORMs home
3) Meanwhile back in Britain, I’ve received the first request for a workshop called StoryFORMs for Sales Conversations. And “undercover” StoryFORMs questions have shaped an emerging conversation that could reshape how the city of Oxford fosters tech innovation in years to come.
I think what explains the enthusiasm and momentum growing around StoryFORMs is the way it provides people with permission and purpose in their work. Perhaps this is clearer if we break out the shapes (or forms) within StoryFORMs’ own StoryFORM.
To them, we offer: An approach to story as a platform for business decisions and directions, including a tool for big picture thinking that you can learn to apply through workshops. (Soon we will offer a StoryFORMs toolkit, probably including an iPad/tablet app and a handbook that will model itself on the ground-breaking Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. (You could not invest in a better book – please buy it now if you don’t already own it. If you do own it, buy more and share with friends.)
The value we envisage arising from using StoryFORMs is that: a company’s stories tangibly create clarity and stoke ingenuity inside the organisation and genuinely inspire a purpose that can enrich the lives of people beyond it.
What happens if people use StoryFORMs and this value really takes hold. Well, in their “new normal” we imagine: business are more responsive and innovative; people enjoy working inside them more; and purchasing and using the goods or services those businesses make becomes easier, more fun, more enriching.
In a world which we recognise is: complex, fast-paced, wired; where multiple perspectives co-exist and make noise; where the “marketplace for meaning” is truly global, we think a canvas for clarity and courage is an important thing to offer.
As for us? Well, I am a storyteller. I make things up, I make believe, I make sense of things, I make belief. And within KILN, I’m part of a group of innovation catalysts who constantly look at the status quo and say, “Yes, AND…” KILN is committed to helping in-company teams become more creative, more in-tune and better able to generate breakthrough products and services consistently, however much or rapidly their markets change and shift.
Enough from me, however. For the “so what?!” of StoryFORMs, no one puts it better than James Ramsey, who has written here on KILN’s blog: “I like the language of StoryFORMs – it encourages us to ask about the value we create beyond our boundaries and who is receiving the value. Some call this the ‘value in use’ but picturing the Hero keeps us thinking how we wow that person and make an impact in a ‘noisy’ world. [...] Wouldn’t it be illuminating if every corporate Vision statement included the Hero at its centre. What better vision than serving Heroes?”
James’ future-tense story is possible. One vision statement at a time. You don’t need permission. You can change things just by doing.