FEATURE11 February 2016

Tell me a story

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Behavioural science Features Impact UK

Avoid weighing down clients with data. It’s time to start storytelling to make sure insight is acted upon, says Anthony Tasgal, author of The Storytelling Book

Storytelling crop

No-one in business has enough time. Buyers of research are deluged with presentations; with ‘big data’ promising more information and even more material to ingest. We live in a DRIP world – ‘data rich, insight poor’.

The industries that are responsible for generating information, knowledge and insight are still churning out what I call ‘data freighters’ – super-tankers of often undigested, and indigestible, material. We all instinctively know this is compounding the problem for the precious, but over-taxed, attentional resources of ever-demanding clients. How did we allow this to happen and, more importantly, how can we turn back the data freighters?

A large part of the problem is ‘arithmocracy’ – a system based on the worship of numbers as gods, and an unshakeable, if unproven, belief in safety in numbers.

We see it encroaching across much of our lives: school league tables, goals for NHS waiting times, and police crime-rate targets, to mention but a few. In our world, ...