Wednesday, 2 December 2009

More on stories

"Story Road"
Originally uploaded by umjanedoan

I am a great believer in the power of stories in Knowledge Management, as a key tool in the KM toolbox. However I have seen some pretty awful use of storytelling as well, where the stories were used as pretty much the only KM tool, with limited results.

I saw an application of KM this week, where the approach was to create case studies, and then invite the learning to read these, and to draw out their own learning. Not a bad idea, but the case study library now runs at 100 case studies, and that's a lot to read! You are making it very hard for the learner.

Thats why I was pleased to read this post from Donna Fitzgerald in the Gartner Blog Network, where she says

"I think the trick is having the right stories and knowing when to use them to illuminate or contextualize advice. Stories that are quick and illustrative without sounding preachy. The trick is also having the right forum to tell the stories in, because part of the value of the stories is the fact that they really are personal".

This quote encapsualtes what I feel about the use of stories. There are several key words here

"Illuminate or Contextualise". The stories are there to give context to the knowledge, rather than to be the sole conduit of the knowledge.

"Quick and Illustrative". The stories should not outlive their welcome

"Personal". The best stories are those told in person, by the people involved, by the people who have the knowledge.

All of these are key to success in the use of storytelling in KM.

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