Insight article

Fiction into reality

I recently read about a large technology company commissioning science fiction (sci-fi) writers to pen short stories about their future technology and product uses. They believe this can help anticipate consumer aspirations and drive future adoptions of its products. Sci-fi is not a world I am particularly familiar with but I find it fascinating to read that a concept remarkably similar to the iPad was described over 40 years ago in 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and video chat facilities similar to Skype were set out in the 1911 novel Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback. There are many people who believe sci-fi has a remarkable knack for predicting the future reality.

The move to commission short stories depicting your future struck me as such a brilliant approach…but surely not only for the technology sector and not just for external consumers? But for any business, and starting with your own employees. Every business needs to be able to picture and articulate its own future – be it fantastical and far-fetched or grounded and achievable. But it doesn’t stop there, setting the vision for your business is one element. It’s vital to take the time to tell that story to every part of your business to make your vision a reality. And why share the story with every employee? They have the most important part to play.

Engaging your workforce on the journey your business is on can have invaluable benefits. According to the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) engaged employees deliver four times more value to an organisation than non-engaged employees. The Institute of Social Research discovered that a 5% increase in positive employee attitude relates to a 2.1% increase in sales performance. Beyond the statistics it’s the power of the story to engage hearts and minds and inspire values and behaviours.

What better way to engage employees than to listen to and celebrate their stories? Imagine a bespoke online platform that allows users to upload, tag, search and store their own success stories. The Storytellers’ vision for the future is not quite a sci-fi novel but involves new technology – we are developing our online platform for clients that allows stories aligned to the business’ strategic objectives and values to be shared electronically and celebrated globally.

Our approach at The Storytellers offers a framework for articulating the unique journey your organisation is on, working with leaders to reach and engage every employee. As part of our framework that vision for the future is key – where do you want your business to be in the future?

Nailia Tasseel