David Kolb, American psychologist and education theorist defined experiential learning as a process by which knowledge results from different combinations of grasping and transforming experiences. For a knowledge management practitioner, it is often a challenge to ensure that what gets captured under the pretext of experiential knowledge transcends beyond data and evolves to become the sum total of intellectual / emotional experience of the knowledge sharer. And to my mind this is best done when the medium used to present that experience is storytelling.
It is bit of a coincidence that I am writing this post on a day when we are celebrating the 186th birthday of the master story teller, Leo Tolstoy. Thanks Google for the reminder via a fantastic doodle!
Storytelling in the context of Knowledge Management is not new. Stephen Denning (one of my virtual KM gurus) wrote the book ‘The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action In Knowledge-Era Organizations’ back in 2000. The book explains why leadership storytelling is such an invaluable tool to get the message across, especially when the message is new. Click here to know more.
I have always to found it difficult to understand why storytelling as a concept has not been embraced in the culture of Corporate India. The reason why I find this difficult is that storytelling is not a concept in our country, it is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Do you recall the storytellers in the form of our grandparents and parents who instilled basic values while you were growing up through the stories they read to you? Don’t you make up your own stories based on your own experiences to pass on a message to your little ones? The answers to these questions have always been a resounding ‘Yes’ to me over the years and that has encouraged me to go on with my pursuit for promoting experiential learning through storytelling via the knowledge sharing programmes I have anchored.
And you could imagine my mood, when one fine morning recently, I opened the newspaper and saw the article ‘Tell me a story, says India Inc’. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The following lines were surreal…”One of the hottest trends in the corporate world is – surprise – storytelling. Companies are banking on storytelling to convey messages to people”. So I do have a future after all!!!
Here is the article from the Telegraph. Click here if you find it difficult to read from the image below. Click on the image to view larger version.