“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – and never knowing” –David Viscott
David Viscott is an author, businessman and psychiatrist best known for being the first therapist to have his own full-time talk radio show. His advice covered a lot of bases, but since we’re talking about storytelling let’s focus on that one.
Storytelling is an art and a skill. The only way to grow as a storyteller is to try different things and to be willing to make mistakes.
Practice is crucial, we’ve been through that, but it’s also important to understand the power of iteration. Most of the time, the first thing you come up with won’t be your best work. Allow yourself room to improve. Make several attempts and take the best parts of each to create something new. Photographers call it bracketing, for designers like IDEO it’s called prototyping.
IDEO is an industrial design company that is best known for creating a part of just about everything that you use today, from the squashy handles on your toothbrush to Apple’s first mouse. I decided to use a quote from them as well as use them in this segments video because prototyping, trying, is so deeply rooted into their creation process,
Design thinking is inherently a prototyping process. Once you spot a promising idea, you build it. The prototype is typically a drawing, model, or film that describes a product, system, or service. We build these models very quickly; they’re rough, ready, and not at all elegant, but they work. The goal isn’t to create a close approximation of the finished product or process; the goal is to elicit feedback that helps us work through the problem we’re trying to solve. In a sense, we build to think.
When you rapidly prototype, you’re actually beginning to build the strategy itself. And you’re doing so very early in the innovation cycle. This enables you to unlock one of your organization’s most valuable assets: people’s intuitions. When you sit down with your senior team and show them prototypes of the products and services you want to put out in two years’ time, you get their intuitive feel for whether you’re headed in the right direction. It’s a process of enlightened trial and error: Observe the world, identify patterns of behavior, generate ideas, get feedback, repeat the process, and keep refining until you’re ready to bring the thing to market.
In short, if you want to tell better stories start learning to tell many stories.
P.S. Here’s the end of that clip if you want to see what happened.