Storytelling — relating a good story — is the first Facebook, the first Twitter, the first Instagram, the first Snapchat. Story has power to inform, to persuade, to enchant and to inspire. Ella Saltmarshe, in Using Story to Change Systems” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review says, “We need to develop new processes of collective storytelling across sectors to navigate turbulent times and foster systems change.” .famvin was founded to do just that!
Story has many different qualities that make it useful for the work of systems change. 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.
She calls story and storytelling “Light,” “Glue,” and “Web.” Story can illumine, it can hold things together, and it can reveal or forge new and powerful interconnections.
We need to develop new processes of collective storytelling to help us navigate these turbulent and polarizing times. As such, we need more stories about stories in the field of systems change. There are many more examples, tools, and ways of using of stories to share. It is time for systems change practitioners and storytellers to work together in new ways to build a better world so that “living happily ever after” exists off the page, as well as on it.