The value of storytelling as a knowledge sharing technique

I’ve decided to start capturing more examples of storytelling practice as part of my mission to ‘legitimise’ this as a valid knowledge management/knowledge sharing technique for the public sector. It’s a particular feature of the strategy behind the UK local government Knowledge Hub, a project I’m working on for the IDeA and which will leverage Web 2.0 technologies and social networking to support and develop good/next practice for local service improvement. More about this project in a later post.

I’ve been a long-time advocate of storytelling, and a regular follower of Shawn Callahan and his team over at Anecdote, but have only recently started to practice the techniques. I co-hosted an event with my colleague Michel Holmes where we used the Anecdote Storyelling Circles technique with a cohort of  community of practice facilitators. It was a bit of a learning process for me and Michael as well as for the delegates, but it all seemed to go very well, with lots of useful stories emerging from the facilitators on their experiences in cultivating CoPs. I guess the measure of success in this instance is the fact that the facilitators asked if we could make this a regular event, which we’re now doing.

I also attended Shawn’s recent Storytelling Workshop that he ran during his vist to London, so I’m gradually gaining confidence in the techniques.

Shawn has posted this video which gives a good summary of the benefits of storytelling. To some this may all seem incredibly obvious, but the question occurs to me as to why this is not practiced more often as a means of sharing knowledge and information? I think most people would agree that it offers better learning potential than wading through the usual repositories of highly mediated and sanitised Case Studies and Success Stories.

 I’d be interested in the views of any ‘KM professionals’ on this topic.


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