Len Edgerly sent me a link to a podcast by Andy Goodman called Storytelling for Good Causes on the Social Innovation Conversations website. The presentation was given at Stanford University last fall to a group of social innovators over the age of 60. It runs about 45 minutes long, but is definitely worth a listen, especially if you work for any organization working for social change.
Andy offers a great overview of why stories are the way we understand ourselves and others; our history, identity, culture, and memory are all defined through narrative. He then relates Robert Reich’s four stories that define the american psyche: Mob at the Gates, the Triumphant Individual, Benevolent Community, and Rot at the Top. You can read them on Reich’s site in this article entitled The Lost Art of Democratic Narrative.
The presentation ends with a series of stories told by the attendees at the conference. As the old axiom goes, the proof is in the pudding. As Goodman says, we have to tell our stories to everyone who will listen. The powerful stories of individuals can help to change the world.
One thought on “Storytelling for Good Causes”
I read this post immediately after returning from “1001,” a play at the Denver Performing Arts Center that uses A Thousand and One Nights as the frame for a scary, tender, sad, and funny tribute to the power of story to doom or save us in the Middle East. The play left the outcome in doubt, putting the onus on us, as you say, to tell the rest of the story ourselves, in our own little chapters as best we can.