In addition to our full 21-day sprint, we offer a 5-Day Define Sprint, Workshops, Consulting, Coaching, and Keynote Presentations.
5-Day Define Sprint
Our 5-Day Define Sprint is an abbreviated version of a full 21 Day Story sprint. In five days, contributors collaborate to clearly define and align on the challenge at hand. This helps mitigate risk before your people exert precious resources. Contributors are engaged to clearly define the challenge — and as a leader, you'll better understand your team's readiness to resolve it.
In a 5-Day Define Sprint, contributors:
- Frame the dramatic conflict in your story — the most challenging problem(s) to be resolved.
- Identify protagonists and antagonists — the roles people play in your story, and any gaps or redundancies in them.
- Take inventory of your capabilities — your group’s superpowers.
- Curate your backstory — aspects of your group’s collective history most likely to affect your future
- Measure propensity toward action — the level of belief in your mission, and your team’s confidence that the problem can be resolved in a satisfactory way.
During the sprint, contributors receive and participate in two 90-second prompts per day delivered to their mobile devices. The sprint yields the co-created Definitions you need for fast alignment and immediate action.
A 5-Day Sprint can be its own stand-alone engagement, and can also set the stage as Act One for the rest of a 21 Day Story — the Act Two / Explore phase (11 days) and the Act Three / Resolve phase (5 days).
Storytelling for Business — Workshop
Stories are how human beings make sense of the world. In this workshop, we guide groups through a series of fun and engaging activities which will give them a solid understanding of storytelling basics: theme, character, setting, plot, emotion and movement. We also cover different genres and frames for stories, such as indigenous storytelling, the Hero’s Journey, elevator pitches, slideshows, video, and more.
Each participant in the workshop will prepare a short outline for a story they intend to tell. The first part of the workshop focuses on practicing the fundamentals in the abstract, with playful stories and scenarios. In the second part of the workshop, participants apply those fundamentals to the stories they have outlined.
The workshop culminates in a series of stories performed and critiqued by the participants.
Participants will come out of the workshop as better storytellers, who are skilled at ‘making sense of the world’ for their audiences, and inspiring them to action.
Storytelling for Business workshops are conducted in two half-day sessions that can be on the same day or consecutive days.
Inclusive Storytelling — Workshop
Most companies and communities rely on a linear, or what we call a Hollywood approach to storytelling. They spend a lot of time and money carefully scripting stories with beginnings, middles and ends. And then even more time and money getting those endings to come true. Spoiler alert: most of them don't. A linear approach to storytelling — no matter how many scenarios you plan for or scripts you write, puts you always in responsive mode, never active mode — always after events. never ahead of them.
There will always be a time and a place for prepared, well-told stories, and we honor those practices in our workshops. But we don't stop there. Only inclusive storytelling, that fuses individual narratives into a coherent whole, can prepare you for unexpected events, provide instant context for data, and honor different perspectives.
Our Inclusive Storytelling workshops help groups expand their storytelling skills in three areas that are vital to organizational effectiveness — with our instruction, you will collaborate better, align faster and act more decisively.
For inexperienced or new teams of storytellers, we recommend our Storytelling for Business workshop as a prerequisite. It will help the group establish the common vocabulary and shared understanding of storytelling principles, and optimize the value they get from this workshop.
Inclusive Storytelling workshops are conducted in half-day, one-day and multi-day formats.
Inclusive Storytelling — Consulting
If you are a company that wants to honor more voices and diverse points of view in the stories you tell, you may want to consider an extended consulting engagement. These are customized engagements that can include, analyses, workshops, strategic guidance and personal coaching. Our work is based on 25 years of new research in how stories and people behave in networks, and the relationships between stories and data. As in the Inclusive Storytelling workshops, we align closely with Agile development principles, especially in the sense that ‘game’ is a highly adaptable framework that serves as what we call a story engine.
Companies and teams who co-create stories — instead of scripting them and then trying to make reality fit the fictions — share a sense of purpose, can self-organize, make aligned decisions, and solve problems faster, because they solve them together.
Leaders of these groups have a sense of tempo, know when to be patient, and when to cut to the chase. Employee engagement is high, because everyone loves a good story, especially when they play a role in it. Your brand’s relationships with customers are strong and lasting, because you are better able to hear and participate in customer stories.
Consulting engagements are designed and conducted by our storytellers who embody a unique combination of talents in storytelling, Agile development, theatrical improvisation, organizational transformation, and behavioral science. We have experience working with companies around the world. We will help you move your organization from telling stories at people, to creating them with people. It's a huge difference in your approach, with profound implications.
Inclusive Storytelling consulting engagements are a minimum of 20 hours a month for three months.
Profound Storytelling — Individual Coaching
Nothing adds meaning to your data like a well-told story. Audiences are moved by compelling characters, vivid settings and conflicts that resolve happily. If these are your goals, this program is for you.
Storytelling is a craft like any other. And like any craft, knowledge of the fundamentals, consistent and disciplined practice, and skillful performance of your work are all vital to your success. You get all that with this coaching.
The curriculum for this engagement covers fundamentals of storytelling (theme, plot, character, environment), storytelling forms (speech, presentation, pitch), and performance skills (movement, layers of meaning, tempo and dynamics).
A limited number of of these individual Profound Storytelling engagements are available with Mike Bonifer and Donna Pahel. Engagements are two hours per week via videoconference with a four-week minimum. Short readings and 15-20 minutes of prep work per session are recommended but not required.
Mike Bonifer or Donna Pahel deliver a 20 to 45 minute Keynote Presentation on storytelling for business that is customized (not canned!) for your event and your audience’s interests. First we choose a theme together, then construct the keynote to explore and express that theme.
Agile Storytelling: How to apply software development principles to strategic development; how to keep engineering logic and business logic connected as products are developed and brought to market.
Curiosity: Donna Pahel gives a remarkable presentation on the value of curiosity to leaders looking to align their teams and prepare them for action. We’ve got just one word for this keynote: Ka-POW!
Disney Storytelling: Bonifer recounts stories from his 20-year working relationship with the Walt Disney Company; emphasis on classic linear storytelling, including The Hero’s Journey, the Uses of Enchantment, movement, etc.
Diversity and Inclusion: The advantages of polycultures over monocultures; how your story and my story can become our story, and why it matters; maintaining transparency while limiting the effects of ‘call-out / cancel cultures’ on social media.
Game and Story: The relationship between game structures and story outcomes, and why it matters to your employees and customers; an introduction to bigSTORY’s proprietary ERGO (Environment / Roles / Guidelines / Objective) universal game structure; games as story engines.
Organizational Transformation: How to greet change as an opportunity; creating fast aligned pivots; collaborative problem solving; operationalizing strategies.
Quantum Storytelling: An emerging field, based on 25 years of new research on non-linear storytelling in organizations and networks. Bonifer is one of the leading voices in the field.
Real Human Stories: How leading with your heart’s desire and trusting your intuition can produce stories that are authentic, real and relatable on a human level; how the humanity in a story counters the mass effect of stories made by bots.
Storytelling with Data: How to express more meaning with information by adding layers of emotion and metaphor.
Bonifer’s and Pahel’s Keynotes are relevant, rich with case stories and anecdotes from around the world, steeped in emotion and humor, and transformative for their audiences on both a group and individual level.