Sticky stories

The best ideas have most of these traits: They are simple, core messages; they are unexpected; they are concrete, credible, and emotional, and they are stories.”
Chip and Dan Heath
in Made to Stick

It’s no coincidence that in the millenia before writing was invented the most important parables were passed down through generations via stories because they, rather than facts or figures, are the mechanism via which information remains most vividly within our memories. An example is the stories of the Dreamtime passed down by Australian Aboriginals.

The recent acceptance of defining user stories as a method for capturing business requirements seems to work well in the world of OSS. They also help to build the message of what the end-to-end user experience will look like and how processes should flow.

This makes me wonder whether there is an opportunity to build a similar framework for Operational Stories that are used to build up an easily indexable catalogue of experiences that operators hand down from one generation to the next, or store in an adjunct OSS tool.

What methods do your operational teams use to propagate learning from past situations?

The Heaths also state, “The hardest part of using stories effectively is make sure they’re SIMPLE—that they reflect your core message. It’s not enough to tell a great story; the story has to reflect your agenda” in the same book.

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