In every culture, stories are used to understand, entertain, transmit values, and mobilize action. Storytelling is an ancient human activity. Humans are natural story-tellers and story-listeners.
Storytelling has emerged as a popular and important strategy for capturing and communicating results of a program or organization to various audiences. Traditional approaches to program evaluations which rely on formal questionnaires and statistical data fail to give program participants the chance to tell their own stories in their words. A Stanford research study showed that statistics alone have a retention rate of 5-10%, but when coupled with anecdotes, the retention rate rises to 65-70%.
Solutions in the social space need to be much more participatory, dynamic and holistic to implement a long-lasting and successful project, which changes the status quo for the better.
In today’s world, sharing stories is one way we can connect with each other. Stories should not be seen as just anecdotal but as a potential source of change for both creators and viewers. If they can be used to support, amplify or better articulate a policy campaign, or to make the target group understand the value of a product, then they can be extremely influential. Storytelling happens across different levels – from the personal, to the collective and societal. We’ve all had a personal experience where we shared emotions, experiences or memories. While it can be transformative to oneself, other people see it as an exemplary experience of an individual. Sharing similar stories and experiences across a collective group and identifying similarities, feelings of solidarity might emerge, patterns are recognized and challenges overcome.
Stories have the power to uncover the social nature of a certain problem and can then formulate actions to solve those problems. Storytelling can strengthen organizations throughout their processes, but it requires time, strategic considerations and a thorough analysis of an organization’s target group, goals and abilities to lead to satisfying results. Today’s storytelling makes use of a varied range of mediums to lead to punchlines at the end of the day. These include participatory film making, Theatre of the Oppressed, Comics, Gamification, etc.
We are hosting a Storytelling Workshop on 20th of May in Mumbai, to provide a practical introduction to storytelling approaches which could be applied in grassroots program evaluation, present methods, tools and techniques to develop stories and ways to share and highlight them.
To apply, please visit the following link: https://4thwheel.typeform.com/to/ojL476
This article was written by Sharon Weir, Co-Founder of 4WSI.