#WorkingOutLoud on ’The Roots of Storytelling’

As ‘Quiet Leadership’ and ‘Power and Potential’ take flight, i’m left with time to make a start on the next project: ‘The Roots of Storytelling’. Whilst there is a chapter in ‘The Social Leadership Handbook’ about Storytelling, i have really wanted to build out a book in it’s own right, but have needed the excuse to do so. And now i have it!

This work will be a four part exploration of Stories and Storytelling, which is to say, an exploration of identity and culture, constraint and change.

Today i have been working on a broad structure, as well as initial thoughts around visual identity: as is probably clear, in my work these things tend to be intertwined through creation, as opposed to being simply visual design at the end. Illustrating helps me to order my thinking, and the thinking in turn tends to evolve the illustration.

Or at least, it does when it works: the early stages tend to be fractious as i wrestle to find the identity, within the limits of my capability. For what it’s worth, this ’book tree’ probably won’t make the final cut, but i wanted to at least make a start.

The four parts that i’m currently exploring are as follows: ‘The Landscape of Stories’, which will be a broad exploration of what stories are and how they surround us, ‘Sheltering in Story’, which will consider how we live within stories and how this both enables and constrains our thought, ‘The Stories of You’, which will explore reputation, identity, and social connection and belief, and ‘Storytelling through Change’, which will build out to a more Organisational perspective of change.

It’s an eclectic mix i realise, but there are really dozens of topics and ideas that i could have chosen, and i wanted this to build out of my previous work, not simply repeat it.

There is then the question of the type of journey: work like ‘Quiet Leadership’ is a guided tour through a landscape. ‘Power and Potential’ is an Enquiry Framework, so question based exploration to define a space. I am very tempted to make the ‘Roots of Storytelling’ about practice: to base it around activities and experiments, and of course to build ‘storytelling’ through the work itself.

Across this first quarter i am working on three new programmes, with accompanying Guidebooks, each exploring a different aspect of leadership in the Social Age. ‘Power and Potential is now done, ‘Storytelling’ is the second one, and in March i will be tackling ‘Failure, Complexity, and Control’, the most experimental of these pieces.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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