Telling the story of practice

I recently attended the excellent Service Design in Government conference in Edinburgh and my experience there reminded me of this post from Simon Terry.

Simon exposes something I think we all recognise: that the most compelling stories, the ones that inspire us and cause us to change, are the ones that focus on real, tangible outcomes.

In my work I often find myself in between the worlds of policy and digital. I regularly hear theoretical arguments about why one way of working is better than another, why the ‘other’ way of working is bad or why it is obsolete. I’m not saying those things aren’t true to some degree, but these debates don’t really get us anywhere in reality.

I do sometimes see breakthroughs though. I always enjoy bringing people from different worlds together to work on a real problem to give them the opportunity to listen to each others perspectives and understand why some things are the way they are. This kind of team work is progress for sure. And at Service Design in Government I noticed the focus of the presentations shift from theoretical, thought-sharing towards ‘real stories’ that demonstrate the true impact of design on people’s lives.

I think this kind of powerful, persuasive storytelling is the most likely to lead to the changes we all want to see.

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