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14th October, 2022

Updated: 28th October, 2022

Why do we tell stories?

  • Help us contextualise and understand complexity
  • Better understand the world and our place/ experiences in it
  • Engage others to form or build relationships (individual/ collective)
  • Transfer knowledge or information
  • Develop empathy for the experience of others
  • Change behaviours
  • Capture public imagination
  • Elicit attention to promote/ communicate a form of value

Wear different hats

  • Journalist - to uncover the hidden story
  • Detective - to seek out the single source of truth
  • Marketeer - to promote value and impact
  • Cheerleader - to champion and advocate

“Stories make, prop up, and bring down systems. Stories shape how we understand the world, our place in it, and our ability to change it.”

“Story has many different qualities [...]. It’s a direct route to our emotions, and therefore important to decision-making. It creates meaning out of patterns. It coheres communities. It engenders empathy across difference. It enables the possible to feel probable in ways our rational minds can’t comprehend. When it comes to changing the values, mindsets, rules, and goals of a system, story is foundational.”

Story as light, story as glue, story as web: Ella Saltmarche on the ways tales can help us see and fix systems

“What’s utterly unique about me? My narrative is what’s unique about me. The experiences I’ve had and from which I can teach and that have shaped me into the human being I am. The same goes for our countries, for our cultures and for our communities. And so the construction of narrative is a piece of identity work that provides us with moral resources to make choices in a world full of uncertainty.”

“Stories not only teach us how to act – they inspire us to act. Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, our emotions. And it is what we feel – our hopes, our cares, our obligations – not simply what we know that can inspire us with the courage to act.”

Marshall Ganz



Created on: 14th October, 2022

Last updated: 28th October, 2022