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 to ignite change: Steve Denning
Change irresistible but...
              ....the organization is immovable

     At conferences like this, we hear, as we heard this morning, about all the wonderful opportunities and creativity and excitement and positive things that are possible in this field.
    But when we get back to our offices on Monday morning, we often see a somewhat different scene of competition and distrust and difficulty, and we wonder how these two worlds, have anything to do with each other.
   This presentation is about how to cope with the office on Monday morning, what you do about the problems of real life. The problem that I and many others who have worked in large organizations have faced, and are facing, is that change is irresistible. At conferences like this, we are reminded that we are looking at a world that is going through a set of immense and wrenching transitions.

    And then we go to our organization, and try to communicate the need to change, and we find that the organization doesn’t want to listen. The organization proves to be immovable. No one in the organization wants to hear that their working lives are going to have to be turned upside-down and inside-out.
    And this is not only your problem. If you look at chief executives of major organizations and see how long they last on the job. It’s not too long. I mean, it used to be a couple of years. Now look at this. Thirteen months. The head of Xerox had only thirteen months to turn the organization around and get results. You have little more than a year to decide and persuade but also implement and show results. How can you possibly do this. You could try explaining to the people in the organization and give them a reason, but you know that doesn’t work. You can say to the people in the organization, “Well, unless you do it, you are going to be fired!” Or maybe just fire them anyway. These are tremendously unproductive and inefficient ways of trying to get organizations to change.
    What I am here today is to tell you that there is another way. There is a different way of going about this, a way that is more effective, more efficient, and more humane than any of the traditional ways. And it works. This is something that works not only in the rarefied air of conferences. This works in the heat and sweat and difficulty of the real world environment of distrust and competition and the like.
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 Stephen Denning 
The views expressed on this website are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of any person or organization

 Copyright © 2000 to be put for each author  ... 
The views expressed on this website are those of Stephen Denning, and not necessarily those of any person or organization
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