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The Art Of Storytelling

By July 13, 2023September 4th, 2023All, Design6 min read
And its Crucial Role in Service Design
Published on July 14, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 mins

While the service design methodology is guided by an established step-by-step process to ensure the viability of solutions in addressing a specified challenge statement, the discipline houses ample room for creativity.

One of the most potent techniques in every stage of service design is
the art of storytelling; an effective tool that ties individual components of an initiative into a cohesive narrative that is nonetheless enjoyable to follow for receiving audiences.

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is all about connection. It not only connects different parts of a narrative but also people and audiences across temporal, cultural, and demographic landscapes. Storytelling has been described as one of the most valuable forms of human expression; using words and actions to encourage people’s imagination when communicating certain messages.

There are several forms of storytelling, including:

Oral storytelling:

Involves telling stories through word of mouth to an audience.
It is the oldest form of storytelling.

Written storytelling:

Is storytelling using the printed word which can come in the form of books, journals, newspapers, magazines, and banners.

Visual storytelling:

Has been a part of human culture for years and involves telling a narrative through drawings, sketches, and now animations, movies, and photos.

Digital storytelling:

Is now a more novel and emerging form of storytelling that conveys all the previous forms through the internet.

How to be an Effective Storyteller?

Good storytelling is based on several elements. In the context of service design, and the process of presenting all components of the design process, the following considerations stand out as the most relevant:

1. Empathy: the story must always show empathy for the customer and various service stakeholders by fleshing out clearly who they are and how they are impacted by the service challenges and improvements.

2. Continuity: Tying different parts of the service journey into a cohesive narrative allows for audiences to see how the challenges interrelate to the solutions and the future state of the
service.

3. Authenticity: Integrating the real-world stories of service users through direct quotes brings the narrative to life and enhances credibility. This also enhances the relatability of the narrative.

4. Aligned with goals: Always keep the goal of the narrative in mind.
Is it to garner support? Induce stakeholder buy-in? Communicate the everyday stories of service users? Is it all of the above? Having a clear idea of the outcome of the story will help frame the narrative.

5. Call to action: Once the objective of the narrative has been set, it can be formalized at the end of the story for maximum effectiveness. The call to action clarifies what the outcome is and how the audience can facilitate this end.

Applying Storytelling to Service Design

Storytelling can be applied to any stage of the service design process to enhance communication of information.
Ideas can generally be displayed on a board for a visual overview.
Effective storytelling techniques can include:

  • Using graphs or infographics to display service details in the initial research.
  • Sketching out realistic figures for personas and making a detailed narrative of their life, personality, and circumstances.
  • Creating storyboards as a supplement to journey mapping.
  • Presenting the challenge statement and selected initiative through creative ways, such as a video news report or written news article.
  • Creating a rehearsed speech involving different members of the multidisciplinary design team to present the outputs of the whole service design process to relevant stakeholders.

Storytelling can be the factor that makes or breaks an initiative pitch. Even a great idea may not garner much interest if delivered in a less than effective way.
Therefore, to ensure buy-in and support of concerned parties – or simply just to make the delivery of ideas more enjoyable for audiences, storytelling is an important skill in any designer’s toolkit.

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