Passport to the 21st Century
John Seely Brown, Steve Denning, 
Katalina Groh, Larry Prusak: 
Some of the world's leading thinkers
explore the role of storytelling in the world

 I Introduction to storytelling I John Seely Brown on science I Steve Denning on change I Katalina Groh on video
Larry Prusak on organization I Discussion I | Contact us | Bibliography on storytelling

Storytelling: Organizational Perspective: Larry Prusak
Knowledge strategy

 A second very important way is to make it visible in the strategy of the organization. This just as true for your groups as it is for profit-making. 
   What are we in business to do? Now you have groups in this audience and in some other groups, that it’s a twofold play. They use knowledge internally, but the World Bank and other organizations are now looking to use knowledge to help developing nations. It’s a double meaning here. It’s both: what do we know that helps us manage internally and be more effective as an organization, but also: how do we use knowledge externally with the clients and partners of the organization. 
   For the organizations like the World Bank and UNDP, it’s using knowledge for development. 

   If you don’t have knowledge talked about, thought about, and spoken about, in your organization, nothing is going to happen much. Simple lesson. Dan Holtshouse is another knowledge pioneer at the Xerox Company did a study not long ago, where he followed five or six executives around for a week, to see how often they spoke about knowledge, to see how often they actually used the word. And lo and behold, what a surprise! Those who spoke about it, actually did something about it. Those who didn’t, don’t. Voltaire once said, “Nobody would ever fall in love if they hadn’t heard the word, ‘love’.”
   If you don’t’ talk about something, nothing’s going to happen. If you don’t use the language of things, if you don’t care about making knowledge visible within the organization, it’s not going to happen. This must have happened to you, or other people who do consulting here. You get invited into a firm, and they say, “We’d love to have you come in and talk, but you can’t use the word, ‘knowledge’. It’s taboo. You have to call it information. You have to call it quality.” 
   And of course, I say, “Call Tom Davenport. Call somebody else.”
   I mean, that stuff is nuts. If you don’t have a free open discussion on what knowledge is, what’s its role, and what can be done with it, in settings like this conference, or maybe debate the role of IT, or debate the role of culture, then nothing much will happen.
Books and videos on storytelling 
*** In Good Company : How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work
by Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak (February 2001) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Social Life of Information, by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid
(February 2000) Harvard Business School Press
*** The Springboard : How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations
by Stephen Denning (October 2000) Butterworth-Heinemann 
*** The Art of Possibility, a video with Ben and Ros Zander : Groh Publications (February 2001)

 Copyright © 2001 Larry Prusak  ... 
The views expressed on this website are those of Stephen Denning, and not necessarily those of any person or organization
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