J.J. Abrams: The mystery box

I really enjoyed this TED talk by J.J. Abrams. Key points that stood out for me: Sometimes mystery is more important than knowledge Mystery is the catalyst for imagination Mystery offers Infinite possibility A blank page is a mystery box Stories are mystery boxes The difference between what you think you're getting vs what you're really getting is often profound The mystery box IS all of us - what is really inside of you?

By |June 11th, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

Ogilvy’s russian dolls

I came across this little anecdote in and article in the latest edition of Strategy + Business.  It illustrates how savvy leaders know how to use metaphors and symbols to get their point across effectively and strengthen company culture.  David Ogilvy is the founder ofOgilvy & Mather, one of the most successful advertising agencies in the world. "... it wasn’t just what David Ogilvy said that made his principles special; it was also how he said it. ... Ogilvy communicated his principles [...]

You are not who you were 2 years ago: organisational identity

I remember watching a TED video of Richard Dawkins (I think) who said that the cells in our body are always replacing themselves, so much so that after about 18 years, our body has an entirely new set of cells. How's that for a thought: I am not who I was 18 years ago!But surely I am? I am still Aiden, am I not? This is a big question for us as humans, but what about for the organisations and companies we lead [...]

Big and small “s” stories

One of the questions Sonja and I often get when introducing ourselves is this, "Why use the word narrative? We find the word "story" easier to understand." In response we've said that the word "narrative" has more gravitas to it and communicates that we're more than just story-tellers. However, of late we've begun to use a way of describing narrative that Anecdote use: the difference between big "S" story and small "s" story. Here's what I mean ... Big "S" stories are the stories we're accustomed [...]

Narrative therapy basics

This image (from Dave's recent post on the Liverpool Slavery Museum) highlights the interplay between a dominant and alternative story, and how an alternative story can be freeing. What do I mean? Well, my background lies in narrative therapy - a new wave in the psychology domain that takes a narrative perspective on a persons problems and life. In essence, the way we speak about ourselves and our problems creates the reality we live in. If words are so important, then the way [...]

Live blogging: Justin Cohen

Sonja and are sitting at the Sandton Southern Sun listening to Justin Cohenpresent his preso on storytelling: What's Your Story? I met Justin in myTomorrowToday days and admired his blatant confidence in front of an audience. He is now turning his speaking prowess to punting the power of stories in the public sphere. We're sitting here 'cos we're fascinated by the range of applications of story. From traditional storytelling to business narrative, we see a spectrum of applications and uses of story [...]

Butch and Sundance

In a recent Time magazine,Robert Redford reflects on his friendship with the late Paul Newman. He describes how they worked together and became friends in the tough movie industry. The pieceends with the following story, which I think perfectly illustrates how a story can convey so much more than facts. It gives us insight into the friendship and even the character of the two men, probably aspects that they would not be able to articulate when asked directly. "We played lots of pranks on [...]

By |October 13th, 2008|Categories: Narrative|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Sacred stories

We are in the process of planning a couple of exciting projects, one in the world of sport and another in schools.  Both of these involve the capturing of stories to assess culture or to "find the magic" in these environments. During a planning discussion with Dave Snowden this morning, he mentioned the concept of "Sacred Stories", those stories that define the way that people or societies see the world.  This is an intriguing thought.  It got me thinking - what are [...]

By |September 15th, 2008|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The importance of context

In reading a book by Eugene Peterson, I came across this paragraph: "Apart from the before the now has little meaning. The now is only a thin slice of who I am; isolated from the rich deposits of before, it cannot be understood. ... The before is the root system of the visible now" While this is most certainly true for individuals, we also know this to be true for organisations. It once again re-iterates the importance of context when dealing with any kind of change in large organisations. Often times, [...]