On Our Way to Storytelling

The methodology we chose to adapt for our purposes is STORY - WORK - a comprehensive story approach combining storytelling with story-listening (collecting) and story-triggering.

The Context: What we need to improve

While we are all natural storytellers […] we often need to build our confidence to tell stories in a work setting. This is because we’ve become used to merely voicing our opinions at work, rather than showing our hearts (Shawn Callahan, see below)

In River//Cities Foundation Platform (River//Cities) we felt we need to improve the way we communicate our activities to our partners, to our audiences but also how we communicate internally – within our organisation. It seemed to us there is still so much undiscovered potential, “a hidden treasure”, both in us as an organisation and us as individuals.

While looking for the method which could help us achieve this aim we had decided we should look closer at storytelling. Then we did some research on the available resources on the Internet. There are actually quite a lot, but we have decided we need an approach which suits our needs in a best way. That is why we have chosen Story-Work methodology.

Inspiration for our methodology: STORY – WORK

The methodology we chose to adapt for our purposes  is STORY - WORK - a comprehensive story approach combining storytelling with story-listening (collecting) and story-triggering, as explained by  Shawn Callahan in the article : “Making the most of Story-Work”.

Shawn Callahan ( see the profile on Linkedin)  is the founder and co-director of, a management consulting firm, Anecdote Pty Ltd, based in Australia, whose expertise in story aims at inspiring lasting organisational change.

Mr Callahan describes the tripartite concept of Story-Work in the following way:

Organisations often start with story-listening, to find out what’s really happening in the workplace and to help employees work out what they need to do. Then storytelling is used to increase the ability of leaders to connect with their colleagues and inspire them… . Once an organisation knows what is happening within it, […] then story-triggering is used to prompt the telling of new stories that will pave the way for a new means of acting.

Read more about this methodology here.

Why we have chosen that type of new approach?

Working with stories is aimed at bringing the change (for better) – within the organisation, workplace and/or the relations with their audiences/customers.

It seems that although story-telling has been used by cultural sector as a format for delivering their projects, the potential of the integrated approach such as Story Work has not been fully recognised and thus the method is not used by cultural animators to improve the work of their organisations and engage more their audiences.