I recently spent an interesting day at Newcastle University at a Jisc Netskills course intriguingly titled “Storytelling Techniques for Project Dissemination”.
Yes, the title baffled me too.
A benefit of the Transformations programme is that I’ve been pushed towards certain things, including attendance at this event – otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen it or thought of taking the long trip up north.
As it transpired I’m pleased I went. Initially it was the best chance that I’ve had so far to talk face to face with others running Transformations projects and to share experiences. From this it doesn’t seem a unique experience to find that such a project has unearthed a broader/greater/longer-term theme or challenges/problems that there is a need to look at. The flip side of this positive is of course the challenge for a Transformations project manager to try to reign in “enthusiasm” and remember what the original project was, and what they are expected to deliver.
Anyway… the course itself.
Usefully Lawrie Phipps (Lawrie is the programme manager for the JISC Transformations Programme) was present for part of the day and was able to bring in the perspective of someone who has to wade through long project reports which often shine little light on matter such as what they are about, why they exist and what they have changed. The purpose of the course was to present the alternative approach of using stories – in the form of short audio and video – as a communication device.
My conclusion was that there is definitely a point to this. Having spent so many years around IT folk in particular a purely personal view is that communication with humans/the outside world is often not a strength (diplomatic enough?). Thanks to all those involved in running the event, and to those who attended for the open minded approach they all took.
From a personal perspective, I must admit that love writing long reports and often they are what is needed… but equally recognise that this is not always the right communication tool. I was definitely “out of my comfort zone” (apologies for the cliché) during the day but glad I attended and left determined to follow up on the aims of the event to prompt these alternative communication tools. Yes, sometimes, in three minutes, with audio/video you can communicate far more effectively.
The particular link to Transformations is the following requirement:
“…required to create a brief audio and/or video description of their project; what it has achieved and the main findings from their work by the Business Change Manager/Project Sponsor.”