Storytelling for innovation

If your strategy includes a new service, product, or platform, one of the best ways to get started is not with a story at all! Instead, it’s with a well-designed experience that adds value to your customers, engages your employees, then benefits the bottom line. It’s essential to focus on profit-making last in the design process so that you stay focused on what your customers want most and will genuinely adopt.

Once you design your customer experience in a way that your employees will want to deliver it, you can tell its story. Some of the most successful business stories in the world are about what will happen to you as a client when you experience a particular brand. Recall the social media stories shared online and the ads for Disney Theme Parks. Remember the last Coca-Cola®  ad you saw with sweat dripping down the bottle and a person tipping up the bottom of the bottle then sharing a refreshed smile. These kinds of stories are imaginative, detailed, and make promises using the brand that the business must keep. It’s essential to include more detail and for those details to appear in the experience when customers have it.

We know this idea works! After all, about half of Storyminer’s business uses storytelling for innovation and new concept development : think stores, services, platforms, and franchises.

Mike’s Tip – Start with your imagination set in the future, and then work back from there.


Here’s the cool part: When you tell a story about the future, before spending money on contracts, construction, or software development, you get to keep your development costs as low as possible and your timeline as short as possible. You also reduce your risks.

It turns out that storytelling is the fastest, most efficient, and least expensive prototyping tool in anyone’s business toolkit.

By only using your mouth and adding a few pictures, you can quickly develop version after version of feasible futures. Then using standard agile, software development, and project management tools, you can fine-tune your design until it’s ready for primetime.

Case Studies: for an optical glass manufacturer, the Storyminer’s team prototyped their Store of the Future concept totally on paper. Within months, the clients could walk through a full-size store prototype and make critical design and scale decisions. This physical story happened before funding expensive leases, construction, or development. The entire project started with the stories of a customer and an optician. Subsequent sharing of that story and the interactions between them got everyone on the same page.

This article is part of Luminary Learning Solutions‘ Guru Guide. You can read the full guide here.

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