“You're never going to kill storytelling, because it's built into the human plan. We come with it.”
- Margaret Atwood
Humans need to connect with things that matter. Stories are the bridge. Everyone knows this when they’re a child; now the grownup world needs great stories more than ever.
Stories enable success
Getting things done in the digital age often means holding attention and sparking imagination.
The value of stories for effective leadership, communication, business, public policy, social enterprise, sales, brand experience, investment pitching, engagement, design and marketing is well known. But with the sheer number of tools and platforms out there, many people and organisations struggle to make sense of what story to tell, or how.
We believe in going back to basics. There’s an art to stories but also craft and science: well-understood principles of how to make them work. Our basic role is to help people tell their stories in simple, practical, no-bullshit ways.
Strategic stories are more than (bad) marketing
The most powerful narratives go way beyond taglines, comms plans, or brand ads. They lie at the heart of who you are, what you do and why you do it.
For organisations they’re a creation tale of where you come from and a north star of where you’re going. How you believe value is created and what you value in relationships. The bridge between culture, strategy, and execution, that brings people together to achieve great things.
Strategic stories are easy to find: look at almost every beloved brand, purposeful organisation, or rising social movement in the world today. But they’re harder to shape, and often require a shift in thinking by leadership teams.
We believe in casting a wide net during strategic story development. We respect valuable business tools such as Start With Why and the Single Organising Idea, and draw on aspirations like the UN Development Goals; but as story junkies we also love the human truths that underpin classical drama, beloved movies, and mythic narrative journeys. We deal first and foremost with you, the people in front of us, getting to know your business and worldview and bringing our toolbox to an honest, fruitful collaboration.
The shift to storymaking will change the world
We believe a narrative revolution is underway. In a noisy world with too much information, telling stories isn’t always enough. Collective storymaking is becoming a leading strategic tool for achieving positive change.
The heart of storymaking is participation: removing the boundary between creator and audience. This means bringing customers into the heart of product development and brand experience; supporting employees as they reshape workplace culture from the bottom up; helping everyone become better storymakers and value creators. Simple conversation tools, strong UX research, well-executed crowdfunding, and compelling play spaces are some of the many practical forms this takes.
Stories are they key to ecosystems, and ecosystems matter
Storymaking is inherently linked to shaping strategies, which thrive in business ecosystems . An ecosystem approach tries to see businesses, suppliers, customers, and communities as interconnected parts of one whole, joined by complex relationships that go beyond competition.
Ecosystem mindsets focus on mutual benefit: providing key partners the tools they need to create value, and orchestrating a trusting environment that encourages connected growth. Through this, lead companies usually emerge as the strategic shapers of each ecosystem’s narrative.
These strategies avoid classical plan-and-execute tactics in favour of a more constantly flowing approach driven by clear purpose and confident improvisation. This can feel counterintuitive at first: we have direct practical experience of making it work, ranging from disaster recovery projects to artisan food startups.
We firmly believe the future lies in ecosystems and circular economies, especially those that value wellbeing. A significant part of our work, and of our strategic partners, is focused on exploring these emerging human stories.