Top 10 Reasons to Use a StorymapApr 10, 2012
1. Gain Alignment. Need to get everyone on the same page in your organization? The Grove‘s Storymap™ process is designed to reveal and resolve alignment issues, refine the message and get all stakeholders on the same page and moving toward the same goal.
2. Clarify the Complex. Fresh visuals provide a clarifying way for people to understand a complex situation. Different information may be flying all over an organization with few people knowing how pieces fit together. Some information may simply be in the head’s of a few key people. Getting that information into a “big-picture” structure can open up awareness and motivate action.
3. Comprehend Faster with Visuals. Get traction on an initiative by providing a visual. It can be very satisfying to hear “I finally get it!” and then the resulting, “Now I know what to do.”
4. Share Communication Touchstones. As Storymaps get everyone on the same page, that same “page” becomes a key communication proxy. As one client put it, “These things have lives.” Storymaps show up all over organizations (cubicles, hallways, board rooms, laptops, desktops, and so forth) and people refer to them for extended periods of time. We’ve had clients come back year after year to update their Storymaps to reflect changes in their organization because the tool has been so successful.
5. Use “Big-Picture” Thinking. Storymaps can address many organizational needs: alignment around strategy, system-wide change, clarifying a process’s purpose, organizational initiatives, staff orientations, and even marketing. Storymaps also work as wonderful celebration communications—we’ve created visual histories for several high-profile companies. We’ve also designed Storymaps to help diverse groups of stakeholders come together around community change, future forecasting, and grassroots coalition building.
6. Escape Boring PowerPoint. Oftentimes clients will come to us with PowerPoint documents 30-50 pages long. We sympathize with the people who have to stay awake through these presentations. When one of these PowerPoint documents comes our way, we’ll glance through it, file it away and begin fresh—often with the question: “What is the story you most need to tell.” From one of our Storymaps, our clients are able to provide much more engaging presentations and meetings that can even be fun.
7. Create Backdrops for Leadership Stories. Leaders are at their best when they can inspire us. Large-scale Storymaps become theatrical backdrops for leaders sharing their view of the world-at-large and the organization’s place in it. We’ve repeatedly seen leaders tell compelling stories from Storymaps.
8. Enroll Stakeholders. Storymaps, used in the context of small one-hour meetings, can be a great way to hear stakeholders’ perspectives. We’ve found that a wall-sized Storymap, sticky notes and a good set of questions is a great way to involve them in a vision or initiative.
9. Stand Out from the Crowd. Storymaps can help you communicate critical information while also capturing people’s imagination and curiosity. They naturally stand out from the daily diet of memos, PowerPoint decks, spreadsheets and email.
10. Help Everyone Remember Shared Agreements. There is a reason that memory experts use visualization. Some eighty percent of our brains are dedicated to processing visuals, and interesting images and visual treatments of key points are far more memorable than lists or blocks of text. Storymaps create a “sticky” memory for people, especially when they are accompanied by the stories that go with them. Reproducing them in small, cubicle-friendly posters or digital versions for portable devices keeps key agreements in the focus of the entire organization.