Teresa Bailey, Senior Technical Librarian, jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology. presents:

Prusak on KM:
- You do connection
- Reflect - nothing happens in knowledge without reflection
- Understand that people learn from one another through stories

Stories at JPL originated as a way to get people in the door [to the library; the library, though centrally located at JPL was not easily accessible.]

Teresa was inspired by literature on storytelling (see slide for references)

Criteria for storytelling at JPL
Story must be told by someone sharing personal experience at JPL.
Be creative
make program inclusive to all aspects (or departments) at JPL

"Tell us your story" Story hour at JPL initially began in 2000 as a way to do knowledge capture and transfer. No one knew at the time how big it would become.

(Note to self: I should talk to David about doing this at DAC; as the company grows, this would be available way to share the knowledge. Staff meetings do tis to an extend but do not provide the venue for this. Staff dinners do, but those conversations are limited in audience reach.) Look into this, not only for DA but for any employees/staff - everyone has a story)

Teresa recruited the speakers to share their stories and then promoted story times by plastering signed on elevator doors, bulletin boars, email lists, in elevators, and on the portal - anything she could do to promote the story.

(This is absolutely fascinating. Another note to self: Teresa has captured stories from roboticists at JPL. Find out how can I see/hear some.  Are any on-line?)

Teresa encourages her story tellers to bring along props (Volcanic rocks, satellite mock-ups, drawings, etc., Mars rover anyone?) Some storytellers even shared songs written by their teams.

Feedback is tracked from attendees. Got 3 or 4 cards. lessons learned: She now links feedback cards to a book raffle and gets 50+ responses per story. Good lesson on reward. She also gives a gift for to the storyteller.

Teresa shared the process of completing her PhD, researching the topic of storytelling.

What to research? She looked at:
- The storyteller
- The Story
- The Story Listeners

The Surprise: Expressed, deep appreciation of the storytellers

Thesis question:
What is the experience of the story teller in sharing his or her experience (Sorry, not exact quote; slide changed to fast.)

She shared examples of storytellers and their experiences. Most felt they had nothing to say and quickly discovered how much they had to say.

Great quotes from the storytellers - look at slides.

Storytelling is a powerful a tool for moving from personal experience to group knowledge...

Developing the story
- personal side (done in advance)
- public (presentation)
- reviews
- results

Organizational storytelling allows for:
- Cross-fertilization of ideas
- Mentoring
- Socialization of new members

The storyteller's experience:
- Learning experience
- New understanding & meaning-making
- Significance & impact of sharing stories
- Core or master story linked to identity

Building organizational awareness of storytelling in your organization.

Stories are recorded, however, the real experience comes from being present at the story. (I think that works great for a small, closed campus, but or a large distributed organization other means of distribution are necessary.)

Storytellers need listeners. A story requires both to work well. The storyteller and the listener are interdependent.

Lots of discussion about whether or not to record, how to share.

I did not get to ask if they have considered recording 4-minute segments for a vlog that folks could subscribe to or post on their we pages. Have they played with blogs as a tools for this? I'll try to meet Teresa at JPL.

Teresa is willing to share and help with other KM experts who want to bring storytelling to their organization.

Discussion/Comments (2):

Cultivating an organizational culture of storytelling at JPL


I'm just now checking out this fantastic blog and noticed a typo in the beginning of my talk -- the storytelling program in the JPL library started in Feb. 2000 -- rather than 2007 -- also, something I think I failed to mention in the presentation is there is a link to a page that lists all the past and current stories, { Link } (I just realized it is out of date so it's a good thing I had a reason to visit it -- must have reverted to a old page somehow). That's all for now.

Thank you Eric for the wonderful blog.


Posted at 07/27/2007 8:07:15 by Teresa

re: Cultivating an organizational culture of storytelling at JPL

Thanks, Teresa, I've made the change. And, thanks for a wonderfully helpful presentation. - Eric

Posted at 07/27/2007 21:49:41 by Eric Mack

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