Storytelling in business

Photo Credit: Kate Hammer 2010

How to use storytelling and story design in business?

Business is changing. To succeed in the twenty-first century, businesses in developed economies must connect with people’s emotions. This move towards greater emotional intelligence may explain why “storytelling” has become so fashionable in marketing. Bringing storytelling into your workplace can achieve aims that move well beyond the Marketing or Communications Departments. Through business story design, storytelling can climb inside R&D, new product conception and customer service and customer care. Storytelling can also become a key skill in HR, procurement and finance.

Good leaders tell stories worth hearing

Stories are one of the most efficient ways to change what other people choose. That’s the definition of influence. Shared stories are also one of the most effective ways of forging a common culture. Together, these two story principles are the basis for emerging leaders to explicitly learn how to use stories in the workplace. We help you in two ways: finding stories worth sharing, and sharing stories with greater ease and joy.

Story as the flip side of strategy

storyFORMing card deck Edition 1

storyFORMing card deck Edition 1 (Sep 2016)

Throughline’s approach to story is unique, road-tested and of great interest to industry and consultancy practitioners internationally. It’s called storyFORMing.

storyFORMing is a design framework for start-ups and existing projects and enterprises, offering a new way for them to think about, craft and tell stories.

storyFORMing is a *full lifecycle* method: it works at the planning stage to sketch or elaborate an idea, and throughout a business’s or project’s life cycle. It also provides teams and organisations with a method for evaluating impact and archiving projects.

Applied across an idea's lifecycle,storyFORMing becomes a lens Click To Tweet

Applying story design to real business challenges

The power of this design process is most evident in its direction application to business challenges. Here are five business challenges that the story design process called storyFORMing addresses how we:

  •  define and articulate our reason for being: what we do it, why it matters?
  • visualise our early-stage concept, and determine if it’s worth pursuing
  • make sense of multiple perspectives from staff, customers, stakeholders
  • accelerate organisational change by minimising barriers to change
  • better anticipate our initiative’s unintended consequences earlier
Story design is a way of looking at the world and how to create value for others. Click To Tweet

Use story design to take the pain out of capturing case studies

storyFORMing questions make it easy to write or video case studies quickly. Use the deck with your client, customer or beneficiary to record their words. Add insights from other sources, using the canvas to keep track of what information relates to which story factor.

storyFORMing open workshops

The complement to using storyFORMing on a pressing business challenge is to learn storyFORMing as part of expanding your people’s perspectives on work, purpose, meaning and diversity.

Numerous public workshops convey the different storyFORMing experiences Throughline can provide your team, as part of any Away Day, customer day or ongoing professional development.

More on story design

Pages and posts

How to use the storyFORMing deck 3-min read
Check your concept is credible using storyFORMing 15-min read (incl 4-min video)

Story as strategy 6-min read
Story and Imagination in the Fuzzy Front-End of Innovation 6-min read
Storie are infectious 4-min read


storyFORMing Launch talk at Innovation,Creativity & Leadership ICL2012 25-min
Why design stories for Sir Colin Blakemore’s Human Mind Project Debate 2017 9-min


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