Straits Knowledge Bulletin
August 2010 - focus on storytelling and narrative

In This Issue
Focus: Storytelling and Narrative
New KM Web Store
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Upcoming Events
Photo of Patrick Lambe
Singapore is a place that never seems to tire of getting busier - to the Formula 1 Night Race this year we have added this year the inaugural Youth Olympics and the opening of two casinos.

In the supposedly more sheltered waters of KM we are also warming up on the events front: at the beginning of September we are helping to organise the inaugural Origins: Asia Pacific Business Narrative Conference, a week later there is KM Singapore with its annual KM Excellence Awards, then the last run of our knowledge sharing techniques workshop for this year, and a daisy chain of KM-related conferences taking us to December. Check the events sidebar for more.

Our focus for this issue of the newsletter is on the uses of storytelling and narrative - how it can help to humanise and socialise the workplace, how it can help us navigate culture and change, and how it can assist in knowledge transfer and learning.

We have developed a new set of KM Diagnostic Cards, and not to put it to shame we have a spanking new web store with an expanded range of products from trusted partners. To celebrate, we are offering all our subscribers a limited term 20% discount on our Straits Knowledge products and bundles. The coupon is below. Pass it on!
Focus: Storytelling and Narrative
storytelling image
With Shawn Callahan of Anecdote I have been helping to organise the inaugural Origins Asia Pacific Business Narrative Conference as part of the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

We've also made this an experiment in conference design, with only one presentation style portion (the opening keynote, from Victoria Ward, on "Experience, Vividness and Energy: Stories in Organisations") - the rest will be case discussions, techniques sharing, a "story slam" competition, and a dialogue on the themes of the day.

We have a stunning array of case studies, from Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, USA and South Africa, covering branding, development and aid, government, organisational change, influencing culture, values alignment, marketing, employee engagement, non-profits, leadership development, team-building, community health, and coaching.

The second day will be half day workshops covering storytelling in managing change, influencing culture and coaching, the use of voice techniques, and performance techniques in storytelling.

If you are working in branding, marketing, senior leadership, organisation development, facilitation, teaching or instructional design, knowledge management, change management, project management, strategic planning, corporate communications or sales, this conference cannot be missed. Visit the conference blog here, and you can download the brochure here. Tell your friends about this!
If you are interested in a very practical guide to the use of narrative and storytelling in organisations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has produced an excellent Story Guide: Building Bridges Using Narrative Techniques (co-authored by our Origins keynote Victoria Ward). It sets a very clear and balanced background, and offers a range of practical techniques you can use - the examples are taken from a development context, but the techniques will work equally well in an internal organisational context.

Olivier Serrat of the Asian Development Bank (also speaking at Origins) has written a series of very accessible mini-guides to different ways of using narrative including Storytelling, Most Significant Change, Showcasing Knowledge, Critical Incident Technique, Drawing Learning Charters, Embracing Failure, Seeding Knowledge Solutions. If you like these, check out the ADB's Knowledge Solutions Library, where there are many more KM resources!

My co-organiser Shawn Callahan and his colleague Mark Schenk have an excellent series of white papers on the application of narrative in organisational contexts, including the design of strategy and change, building a collaborative workplace, harnessing tacit knowledge, and sizing up complex situations.

Victoria Ward's company Sparknow has a very rich resources section, including story gathering questions, tips for storytellers, tools and techniques, and resources from their projects, many of them illustrating innovative approaches to KM needs.

The Anecdote and Sparknow blogs are well worth subscribing to, and if you want to connect more deeply to a community of practitioners involved in ogranisational story work, try joining the World Wide Story Work community.
New KM Web Store

We are continuing to develop products out of our consulting experience. We are delighted to launch our latest product, our new KM Diagnostic Cards, which are designed be used as part of a systematic KM audit to find the most consistent and pervasive knowledge management needs in an organisation; they can also
be used to spread KM awareness among operational managers. The cards represent 75 signals of knowledge or information management needs, and when used in an audit help build up a picture of the areas where KM effort should be focused. The results can be used in conjunction with our KM Method Cards to design appropriate interventions.

We have also revamped and expanded our web store, and are now pleased to include other knowledge management related resources that are difficult to get through other channels. We now sell the Change Management Cards from our partners at the Change Management Toolbox, and a range of books from the Information and Knowledge Management Society including KM Competencies: A Framework for Knowledge Managers, and their annual series on KM in Singapore, Knowledge Management: Singapore Perspectives.

To celebrate the dual launch, we're offering our newsletter subscribers and previous purchasers of our products, a 20% discount on all the products and bundles published by Straits Knowledge - this is valid until the end of the month. Use the coupon below to take advantage of this offer, and feel free to pass it on to people you feel might benefit.
Everything we do in KM is intended to be practical, useful and well-founded. That's why we combine our consulting with research, professional networking, product development and training. If you have ideas about how we can make this bulletin more useful to you, please drop us a line and let us know.
Warm good wishes from the Straits Knowledge team
Patrick Lambe
Straits Knowledge

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To apply the discount visit our online store at and enter the coupon code SK2010-20 when you get to the payment page.

Offer Expires: August 30 2010