A Story Bridges The Gap From Innovation To Implementation!

Working in an innovation space can feel lonely when only a small number of people outside of your team understand what you are trying to accomplish. Or you are proudly rolling out a new project that solves a client’s problem, but they don’t understand how they fit in the solution. The program may be badly needed, but if the people who need your service don’t understand how it helps them, it won’t succeed. It is impossible to sell a product or service if you cannot clearly define it to your ideal customer, clients or co-workers.

Seeing your concept with an unbiased point of view is sometimes called ‘The Curse of Knowledge”.  While you may understand the value that you deliver if you cannot concisely explain why someone needs your offering getting a ‘yes’ can be very difficult. This applies to work colleagues as well to clients. If you cannot convey why a new process is important or what the changes to a program mean it is very difficult to get people to comply.

We can solve this problem with a strategic narrative.

A narrative strategy distils a complex concept into a simple story to create clarity around a project, product or service. This shareable story assists in forming a culture of understanding around your innovative solution to motivate people to get on board.

Let’s explain this in further detail with a simple story.

Your ‘Story’ needs to cross the bridge that divides a ‘New Project’ from the land of ‘Implementation’. Once the ‘Story’ journeys across this bridge it explains where it is going to people in the land of ‘Implementation’. ‘Story’ is successful on its journey because people in ‘Implementation’ understand how they can help it on its way.

This is how a story can work to bridge the gap between a new product or service and being embraced by clients, colleagues or the community.

True innovation relies on a clear vision for the future. This is where understanding your unique story becomes truly powerful.

Stories are not born spontaneously in a magical puff of smoke; they are shepherded into the world by a guide and supported by a flock. This shepherd is a strategic narrative advisor who creates clarity around the story of your work so it can move into the future.

Creating the world that we will live in tomorrow requires a bridge to connect your vision to a community. Let your story do the work for you.

Let’s chat! Schedule your 15-minute strategy call now!

Psst, Hey Wanna Get High? On Stories?

Stories make us feel good. Yup, that good.

According to novelist and neurologist, Robert Burton, when we hear something with a beginning, middle, and an end, we get a hit of dopamine. Dopamine is our natural feel-good, high chemical. This is why we love and are addicted to stories. From childhood fairytales to novels, to TV shows and movies, stories have us hooked.

From an evolutionary standpoint getting high on stories makes sense. Stories serve many purposes in society. A few of the primary functions are to educate, inspire, motivate or entertain. A story that creates a shared point of view allows us to see from the same place of understanding. This is key to creating a culture of agreement and shared values.

The following is a story my mother told me about road safety when I was a little girl.

When my mother was a girl she lived next door to a boy who liked to play basketball in his front yard. One day, when he was playing ball, it bounced out into the street. He ran after it, without looking both ways. A car swerved to miss him, but it was too late. He was rushed to the hospital with a broken leg and needed a cast. Even worse than that he needed bed rest and his birthday was a few days away. He had to miss his own birthday party. And that’s why you always look both ways before crossing the road.

When you are a kid death is a big concept to grasp. Even as an adult, it is difficult to come to terms with. But missing your own birthday party? That is terrible, we all know that!

I am now an adult, but I will never forget that story. It has taught me to remember to look before crossing the street and become a useful storytelling tool. Thanks, Mum!

It is a simple story, but the message is clear, ‘Always look both ways before crossing the road.’

Are there any challenges you are facing within your business or organisation? A simple story maybe just the thing you need. Imagine a story that explains how a product or service works, or a narrative that inspires your customers to follow you on a social media storytelling journey.

A narrative strategy could be just the ticket. A narrative strategy uses the power of stories within your personal or professional realm to create a strategic way to inspire, education or motivate your employees, co-workers or clients.

I used the story of the little boy who missed his own birthday to explain how attaching a story to a message is effective. It conveys a message in a memorable and efficient way. The right stories addressing the right pain points within your business or organisation will create the same results.

If you want a hit of story, get in touch about my mini-narrative strategy sessions. I come to your location and run a short session to create a story for a problem that you need to solve.

Feed your story addition with me, it will feel good, I promise!

Who Is The Mysterious Lady?

There was nothing unusual about the small wooden pipe except for a tiny glass rectangle protruding from the bottom of its bowl. This piece of glass is so small it could be easily missed. For those who don’t miss it will see a black and white image if they press their eye against it at just the right angle. A magnified image of a woman wearing a peasant style dress with loose dark waves of hair around her face sits within a gold frame.

The woman in the image has a slight smile on her relaxed lips, not unlike that of another mysterious famous lady, The Mona Lisa.

How can one compare the Mona Lisa to a miniature photo of a peasant woman magnified on the bottom of a pipe? The similarity lies not in what it is, but what it represents.

The image in the tiny glass window the size of a hole in a large knitting needle is fascinating. Who was this woman? Was she the wife, daughter or lover of the pipe’s owner? And who was the skilled crafts person who created such a small and perfect magnified glass image on the bottom of this pipe?

This is something that I am not ever likely to find out. That is what makes this story great. It is a mystery with more questions than answers. This pipe and its hidden treasure are very old and the woman, the pipe’s creator and the original owner are all long gone.

A good story does not have all of the answers. A good story leaves something for the imagination of the reader to insert his or her own interpretation into. A story that asks questions allows the audience to create their own meaning in the story.

Who is the lady in the pipe? Who do you think she is? Tell me in a comment below!

Want To Know A Secret?

I have a secret super power, the power of story. I am not the only one who posses this power. We all have it. Some of us understand this power and use it to the best of our ability. There are others who have not yet fully realised their powers.

There is always a period in every super hero’s story where the power comes out unexpectedly and surprises everyone. Take for example Superman. When Superman was just a boy on a farm named Clark Kent, a tractor rolled over trapping his father underneath. Clark heard his cries for help and rushed to him, pulled the tractor off and saved his life.

There is a plot device in storytelling called the Hero’s Journey. The mythologist Joseph Campbell coined this term. He says that all stages of a hero’s journey are similar. There is always a part of each narrative where adventure calls a character to accept a journey. The character then trys to talk himself or herself out of taking the challenge. The call is eventually answered and the hero goes on to meet their destiny. This is what happens when Clark Kent accepts his extraordinary powers and becomes Superman. The challenge and journey represents the process of becoming yourself. It is also what unlocks your ability to help those around you.

So what does this have to do with the power of storytelling? Your stories are your super powers. Your story can connect you to the right people to move your personal and business goals forward. Stories ‘show’ people the kind of person you are, what your skills are and what makes you unique.

Like all super powers storytelling is something we are all born with. It just takes time to hone it with training and persistence.

How do you do this you ask? I will be running my interactive Storytelling Board Game soon.

Stay in touch with me here and I will let you know more!

Life Is Lived In The Little Moments

Life is not about the big stuff. Everything that is important is quite small.

We tend to think of a person’s life as a long and complex story. A biography shouldn’t be a short easy read right? It should be a complex narrative that examines a person’s loves, struggles, accomplishments and failures.

What if I said while life is complex, it is the little moments that count. Each life journey is made of millions of micro stories. All of these tales collected together create a much larger narrative. But the tiny moments carry the most meaning.

For example, the story of a wedding could start with a chance brushing of hands on a train during a morning commute to work. If that chance encounter on the train didn’t occur this couple’s life may have turned out differently. Our couple would not be tying the knot all of these months later. The moment they first touched is when this love story began.

What moments have you experienced today that you would like to share with your audience? Your ability to recognise and explain the relevance of seemingly insignificant events are the way to create the story of your life or business.

Pay attention to the little things, the small details. This is where your greater story comes together and the meaning of your life unfurls.

The next step is to tell them to the right person to move your personal and business goals forward.

Explore Your Story

Explore-Your-Story-Spendlove-and-Lamb

Where do your most meaningful stories come from? From your lived experience. They come from your childhood, your friends, travels or working life.

How do you identify the stories that move you? You don’t forget them. You see or hear something and it reminds you of that event or time in your life.

Take note of this and take a moment to explore this story.

Ask yourself –

Why do I keep coming back to this story?

What aspects of this story do I re-tell the most?

Does this story motivate me to do something different or remember what is important to me?

There are no easy answers to these questions. They are open to interpretation.

Your unique life is a well which you can draw on. All the wonderful stories you need to tell just waiting inside you.

Use them to illustrate a point in a presentation or create a blog post or explain your business to a prospective client.

Remember if it is important to you, it is important to someone else. It will resonate. Tell and share your story.

Learn Through Listening

How do you learn about someone? Listen to their story.

In July this year I ran a workshop with Megan Spencer, Deep Storytelling : Creating A Culture of Connection. We assisted an amazing group of people’s ability to refine their own story and create a community around their message.

The focus of this project was to learn how to connect to others through listening to how they perceive you. We produced a podcast as a way to not only record their deeper connection to their story; also as a way to look back from the future. The participants will be able to see how their story has shifted and changed over time.

Life and stories will change. As our narratives shift we must also shift the way we connect with our story.

I would like to invite you to listen to the journey of this weekend. Listening for the learning, in our podcast.

Image credit copyright Megan Spencer

Endings and Beginnings

I don’t know about you, but there seems to be a lot of endings and beginnings going on. Why do we tend to do similar things at about the same time? Is it the collective consciousness?

I would say it is the power of story. We tend to make decisions within similar time frames because we are talking to each other sharing our stories. We influence the people we know. The six degrees of separation says that in theory we know almost everyone on the planet in one way or another.

We post about our life decisions on social media, throw parties to make announcements or just open up to people while having a chat. Just now we are all in a phases of beginning or ending businesses, relationships, or changing where we live or work. It is a time for flux and I wish you all well in your endeavours.

Remember that you don’t have to fight or work like the devil, you just have to live. Live well and take care of yourself. This means looking after you so know one else has to. You are the only one who knows what you need and the only one who can understand how to meet those needs.

If you trust your ability to always make the best decision for yourself, you will be fine whatever path you chose. Be that path dark or brightly lit, alone or with someone else or in a new and unexplored place.

So there you are – just go out there and live!

What Is Your Word?

One-Word-Spendlove-and-Lamb

One word is all you need to make a connection. One word can make people sit up, take notice and introduce themselves. We don’t need a lot of words to describe ourselves. We need one perfect word.

What is your word? Mine is ‘story’.

Discovering your word is not a simple task. It is an ongoing process. Start by asking yourself some questions. What makes you tic? What turns your head? What makes you feel good?

Write down words that come up as you ask questions. Keep digging, don’t stop at the first layer. Keep going. What do you love? How you do what you do? Where would you would like to be?

Start focusing on the words that resonate with you. When you have two stop. You might need them both. If one has more meaning for you, get rid of the extra one. Keep the one word. Work this word into your the next post, tweet or article. See who notices it and let me know what happens next!

The Story of Falling In Love

The-Story-of-falling-in-love-spendlove-and-lamb

Stories help us fall in love. Telling the right story could put you in the arms of a new lover or reignite a passion you once shared with a partner. What story do you tell to make this happen? That is hard part. This is something we cannot know for certain.

So what do we do? We tell our story relentlessly. We keep going until we tell it to the right person. The person, who truly connects with us, will understand our story in the same way we do. They will see us and say, “That is my story too. I understand that.”

This is what we all want, connection with the right people or person to make our lives richer.

Every story is not for everyone. But tell it to the right person and anything is possible.