On Tuesday, I offered a workshop at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s annual conference on Digital Storytelling Tools, subtitled “The One and Only Storytelling/Digital Tools/Speed Dating Mashup.” The workshop had four goals: leave with a solid “small moment story” idea, have an idea of how to use stories to reach organizational goals, develop at least two approaches and tools for sharing your small moment story digitally, and have FUN developing your story ideas. (Ideally facilitated with “speed dating-style” conversations where you switch partners every six minutes.)
My approach in designing the workshop was to offer just enough resources and information to inspire learning conversations, and to allocate most of the time for learning conversations. This approach was highly influenced by both Beth Kanter’s recent blog post on designing trainings, and my own experience offering a version 1.0 of this workshop with colleague Zan McCulloch-Lussier at NTEN’s conference last year. Overall, this was one of the most successful workshops I’ve delivered. The conversations enriched the content, promoting real-time, interactive learning experiences.
In the first half of the training, we focused on finding the “small moment stories” already known to the organization. I offered a few examples, and reviewed the “four types of stories you have right now.” (The latter modified from Nancy Schwartz’s two-part series on organizational stories here and here.) Then I asked folks to pair up, share their organizations’ small moment stories, and offer constructive story design feedback.
The second half of the training built upon the small moment stories, by focusing on selecting a digital media that would amplify the story and share it effectively through the organization’s digital footprint. The universe of digital storytelling tools can be segmented into four categories, and the presentation (bottom of this blog post) displays examples of how nonprofits are using many of them. They are segmented as such:
- Static photo storytelling tools (such as Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, PicMonkey, Tag Galaxy)
- Data visualization storytelling tools (such as Google Earth and mapping tools, ThingLink, Visual.ly, Dipity, mind mapping tools)
- Video storytelling tools (such as Instagram video, Vine, YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto)
- Curated storytelling tools (such as Scoop.it, Kontribune, Storify, Paper.li)
Then came the speed dating part! Participants lined up their chairs in facing rows, and had a six minutes between them to jointly consider how each of their small moment stories might be best expressed — through data visualization, video, photos, or curation, and possibly think about which tools within these categories might be a good fit. Six minutes later, shift to the left and begin again with another partner. Everyone did this three times.
Here’s a Vine of the speed dating segment:
— Debra Askanase (@askdebra) October 29, 2013
The training pushed participants to develop their own small moment stories in learning pairs, and brainstorm digital tools to amplify and share those stories. Each interactive workshop segment was designed to pull the participant’s story along through interactive, iterative story development. At the end of the day, a strong digital story is a perfect match of a good story and the right tools for highest impact. You may view the presentation from the workshop, below.