Storytelling : I had dinner and I read a report….

In my corporate life whenever we finished a project we were damn happy. To celebrate the completion of the project, the team would have a celebratory dinner.

And what formed  majority of our dinner conversations was all the joys and sorrows that came along with the execution of the project. Having worked together on a project for a while, the team had developed camaraderie which added to free flow of conversations along with free flow of drinks.

Next day when we went back to work we all contributed towards a Project Report to close the project.

Often whilst putting my bit in the report I was guided by a structure. So, there was no free flow report writing and I felt limited.

Sometimes I would question , What is the purpose of the report? 

I assumed it was to capture knowledge and document learnings we had from the project.

But looking back, I could learn more from the dinner conversations than from the report

The fascinating thing is – the purpose of the report is not met and the conversation which has no business purpose is serving the purpose!

Of course, I only realised this since I started working in business of storytelling

What is going on ?

Reports give us information on what was the project, who worked on it , how long it ran for and what were the key learnings.

They do not give us  tacit knowledge and  do not allow the same creative freedom that stories do.

The reports are objective and limit the author from telling what were the challenges faced and how they overcame that challenge

What we get in Key learnings is distilled information like : Be organisation Savvy. Now, that seems common sense and is easily ignored. What would be interesting if the author shared a story when being organisation savvy helped him/ her.

So, what can we do to capture knowledge more effectively?

Of course, I would love to say capture dinner conversation but that is not practical.

In this context, the best thing to do is Group Storytelling.

Group storytelling is a more appropriate process than report writing where there are several people involved in the execution of a project. The group will build collectively a story about the work done by its members. Each participant performed a role in the project. Therefore, the stories told by a team will probably contain more valuable details because everybody has the opportunity to present their viewpoint on what happened during the project.

In other words, we are inducing team members to expose tacit elements of their knowledge and this can be achieved in a very effective and structured way.

I highly recommend this being recorded as an audio and attached to the report for other team members to listen to and really learn.


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