31 May 2009

LIKE 4 - Storytelling

The fourth meeting of the London Information and Knowledge Exchange (LIKE) took place at the end of May in the upstairs room of The Perseverance in Lamb Conduit Street, Holborn.

This repeated the format of the previous meeting where a facilitator introduced a topic that was then discussed in small groups, these groups change around once to mix the conversations and then come together for a whole team wrap-up.

Also repeated from the last time was the much appreciated buffet that helped to fuel the discussions, as did the Wainwrights beer.

Storytelling has been a big topic in Knowledge Management for some years so it is no surprise that this proved to be a popular topic for a LIKE meeting.

Marja Kingma selected the topic and introduced it by relating a story from the British Library where their sound archives had been used to support the claim for the reintroduction of pool frogs.

The point of that story was to show that there is more to the BL than books and journals and we were asked to take this as an example of how story telling can be used in business and to build on that in our discussions.

As always we discussed far more than I can hope to summarize here but there were some points that struck home.

Stories in business often follow rigid rules, e.g. CVs and case studies and, while these rules are easy to understand, crafting a compelling story is still a difficult task that requires skills that not everybody has.

Stories can be told in many ways apart from written prose, e.g. video, pictures, drama, poetry, humour, cartoons, audio, etc. and different techniques are more appropriate to different kinds of stories and to different situations. This is a topic that we may want to explore further at a future meeting. However, business seems scared to try anything other than formal prose.

It was a great topic for discussion but the best thing about LIKE meetings is that they attract interesting and friendly people. It's rather like a very good dinner party.

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