Previous page: Answering the research questions
Drawing lessons from this study to apply to other organisations must be done carefully. Netskills’ situation is unusual and this research was limited in terms of scope and time. It’s an unfinished story as Netskills is still developing its approaches and many crucial lessons may still emerge. Nor is Netskills’ purpose in using digital storytelling the only potential use of the approach. Despite this I feel there are some questions that other organisations should think about that have arisen from this research and the literature.
What is the purpose?
Whether an organisation is intending to use stories to communicate or as a means to develop relationships and practices internally will affect the approach taken and also the stories that are produced. If a story is told to an internal audience it may not necessarily be appropriate to share beyond that. The wellbeing of the storyteller must be a consideration as well as the organisations.
Are sufficient resources available?
Digital storytelling is time consuming and doing it effectively means storytellers have to be able to devote periods of time away from other duties. The technical tools are not expensive but learning to use them can also take time.
Who will be involved?
Not everyone will be comfortable with telling stories so this may lead to a smaller group of individuals becoming involved. This may mean that the range of voices becomes limited. How will you engage people who are reluctant to tell their story?
How will people develop their skills?
Netskills employees found value in bringing in experts from outside to deliver training workshops but they also valued being able to hone their skills over time, learning from each other.
Is the organisation’s or audience’s culture receptive to storytelling?
An organisation that is highly risk averse and keen to control the narrative about itself may find digital storytelling opens itself up to too much risk. Also, consider how an external audience is likely to react to hearing the stories?
Is the organisation prepared for the unexpected?
Disruption is an overused term in the field of technology but many of the examples of digital storytelling in use that are highlighted in the literature review look at using the technique to rebalance relationships of power. If individuals find their voice then this may affect their relationship with the organisation they are part of. This may be uncomfortable but may also be highly motivating.
How will you define and recognise the success of digital storytelling activity?
This is something that is very difficult to measure quantitavely as Netskills identified. It may even be counterproductive to try. Success might be measured in terms of levels of engagement or could be assessed indirectly by looking at the impact on team dynamics, individual job satisfaction and so on.
Next page: Possible alternative research paths