What is this dissertation about?

We are surrounded by stories. These could simply be conversations over coffee, articles in the newspaper or books at bedtime with the children. Multi-billion pound industries survive on publishing or filming them.

We are less comfortable thinking about stories in the workplace. Perhaps this is to do with an association we make with stories and entertainment, that they are too closely linked to nursery to be considered in the boardroom. Nevertheless, organisations are filled with people and people make stories even if they aren’t deliberately trying to tell them.

This dissertation is a form of story. It is a case study that looks at one organisation as it begins to think about how stories work and how they can use technology in order to present stories of its own activities to the outside world.

The main question I want to answer in this dissertation is what role narrative and “digital storytelling” can play in an organisational context to assist communication and reflective practice. I hope to answer some secondary questions in relation to this:

  • What conceptual, technical and ethical considerations are there for an organisation using digital storytelling as part of its practice?
  • Are there perceived secondary benefits for organisational effectiveness, interpersonal communication for a team that uses digital storytelling?

To answer these questions I have interviewed 7 members of an organisation called Jisc Netskills (including 1 employee from a partner organisation Jisc infoNet) to gain insight into their experiences so far with digital storytelling and their perceptions about its value to the company.

Although this case study looks at a small organisation that is working in a very specific context I also hope to be able to offer some recommendations to other organisations that are considering following a similar path.

To help set the scene it is useful to look at the wider context in which Netskills operates as well as describing the organisation in more detail and its work so far with digital storytelling.

Next: The Wider Context