Discovering Your Story (planning Narratives of Care workshop at LOTE5)

Hey @Thomas_Goorden, as I am expected to co-facilitate this with you, and the outcome of my session is to get some stories written and published on the platform (related to health care), and as it looks like quite a developed session idea, where do I fit in? I imagine I could work with the stories and help people write down and organise their projects/concepts around the topic, and work as a … storyteller for them, right?

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Hello @Natalia_Skoczylas, so this is what I was trying to hint at. The organising team asked me to pick up this session and so I proposed this, not quite aware of any other initiatives or expectations. However, if you are up for it, I could definitely use help!

Helping out as a storyteller seems like an easy way to join. If you want to add a bit more to the package, I think the main concern is to have as many usable artefacts (text, video, etc) at the end of the ride. I could definitely use help in encouraging people to write down/record good ideas, as well as helping to collect them.

In particular, we might need someone to semi-permanently man the “confessional booth”, which would essentially be a static video recording setup where they can record a “confession” video about their project. I’m thinking of having someone there with a list of questions to ask in more or less a ritualised way. (The list of questions+ritual is part of the prep-work that still needs to be done.)

Most of the supporting work is precisely that: supply prompts and somehow capture the results.

As for the warm-up/in-between exercise, it might be a good idea to try it out a bit more before LOTE5, so I might want to bring together a group of people in Brussels in the coming weeks…

Why email sucks

Hi @Thomas_Goorden and @Natalia_Skoczylas:

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Hey @Thomas_Goorden, perfect, this exactly suits my mission - I was asked to integrate elements of a workshop that we conducted in Nepal some months ago, where the outcome was written stories - and to replicate this idea in that particular workshop. I will be searching for a few good stories related to health care and what I will do is discussing with people with different related stories, helping them ask questions, answer, see different angles of their stories and finally put it all into words and publish on this very platform. A diversity of outcomes is even better - if we have videos, photo collages, or drawings published here as well, this would make a beautiful interesting result.

we need to decide how the confession booth will work - I don’t think we need a dedicated person there, rather both of us (or whoever else will help us lead this workshop). So we tell the people there is this thing as well, and if they feel like having answers recorded, please come and ask one of us, and we will help.

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Use me

:slight_smile: I’ll be around all day, but my role is to help you guys. So just boss me around/let me know what you need and I’ll help.

About the walk, it’s tricky and let’s decide the day before - if the weather sucks, which is not unlikely in Brussels, no point to add it. We can move to a nice caffee in the neighbourhood, but in my opinion this will mostly distract people. What we made sure about in the last workshop is that people have everything they need available (laptops, food, coffee, tables, sun, cables, nice people who help them with fleshing out the ideas) in the spot - so that they can really devote this time to thinking and writing. I am not sure if you agree and maybe it sounds even a bit extreme, but it worked for us.

Second thing - let’s imagine we have 20 people coming - 10 with stories and 10 as storytellers. Do you match a story with a storyteller or want the whole group to discuss each project?


OK, so the walk is actually a methodology in itself. I’ve done it plenty of times before and we don’t need a café, laptops or anything to do it. Usually people enjoy it even if there is a bit of (light) rain. If it gets really bad, ok, but it hardly ever happens that it rains continuously the whole day, even in Brussels :wink:

So, I would really like it if we can think of a nice, short(ish) itinerary. If possible it would be nice to go through a park, but it’s not required.

As for your second question: every group needs one “story” and multiple “storytellers” (about 4 to 6 is ideal). However, we won’t work the whole day on one story, so people will shift their role from story to storyteller. So, in the case of you example (20 people), we’d have 3 to 4 groups all the time and if we rotate every hour or so, I think in the end almost everyone can have “their” story discussed (3 groups x 6 iterations = 18 stories).

Not at all convinced about the walk

I would keep it in the venue as much as possible. More complexity = more things that can go wrong.

let’s think about it, but I am also afraid this adds too much - and it is already quite a crazy workshop, with a relatively new concept, potential of creating tons of stories, and if we really want everyone to get a chance to be listened to and actually produce something, even in these long 8 hours, in fact, we do not have that much time. I trust your experience, Tom, as a trainer, but we also want to make sure we actually do have high-quality results, if not ready, at least, ready to an extent that will not let people just abandon their idea - but with some help will lead to publishing them.

I will be in Brussels from 23rd of February and I am up for meeting and discussing it beforehand, anyway:)


I’m not even sure why I feel like I have to defend my suggestions. I’m quite confident in the methodologies and just know from experience that letting people stretch their legs is a good idea and know that a “guided walking conversation” (the method is a bit more involved, but that’s basically what it is) fits incredibly well with the techniques I’ve suggested so far. Granted, it’s hard to explain, so probably impossible to imagine, as most of this stuff is so experientally based. Therefor, I would very much prefer is we can keep this conversation for it’s original purpose (allowing people to step in and help and fine-tuning the text), rather than a lengthy round of impossible to “solve” feedback.

It’s a long day and that tells me we need some variation. Otherwise we risk having people do 6 x 1h rounds of the same methodology, which I don’t think will be so interesting and the later rounds will suffer for it.

Oh, Natalia, if you don’t mind, I prefer to go by “Thomas”.

Because collective intelligence

As a designer/art director used to running things according to the concept I imagine from start to end, it’s quite challenging having others poking into “my” work. I often find the “discussions” annoying when I just want to get on with something, and this is coming from someone who has been part of this since the beginning :))

It can feel like wearing your skin on the outside. But this is a key part of Edgeryders: honest feedback, poking holes into, and building on one another’s approaches. These exchanges are a big part of what makes everyone in the space learn together.

I’d like to express strong support for the proposed walking methodology. Even if weather is poor.

I know there’s this widespread idea that we need to tether people to laptops and optimally do…something. But I suspect that to be a failure mode in itself.

That and I like walks.


The venue is HUGE

My hesitation: people show up late by 3 mins and you get a lot of back and forth on mobile phones: “where are you guys?” “what? what? I can’t hear you…uh rue du whaa?” etc :slight_smile: But the venue itself is large enough that we can do a lot of moving around with minimal complexity if we have good signage. Up for helping with this?


I would join as a storyteller, but I don’t trust myself to be a reliable source since I joined every session proposed so far. I do want to help prepare it, so I added to your wiki the outputs - better said, artifacts people can leave with after the session. Did you do this before @Thomas_Goorden? If there are references on the web to what came out of sessions like these it would be great.

I admit I’m most excited by the videos! (an edgeryders collection for reference here).


Good questions @Noemi!

So yes, I’ve done it before, but more in the “original” form, which was based a lot more on improvisation techniques (essentially acting out certain scenes). I did experiment with e.g. diagramming and that worked really well. Overall, it is still experimental, so not many references online about “hyperactive listening” itself except the manual that Joe Edelman wrote. But essentially, I’m not following that, I’m completely remixing stuff, while retaining the core concept which is having one person/project/problem* at the centre and throwing a group + techniques at it.

There is some research that could be done: One would be to collect different sorts of diagrams that might be applicable (e.g. “business model canvas”, “SWAT analysis”, “generic mindmap”, etc etc). Another, very similar, task would be to collect text samples of different types that are used to describe projects/people. We could hang these up for reference and to give people ideas of what they could produce.

*: I like this. The 3 P’s of Hyperactive Listening, Person Project Problem.

Open questions

OK, so there are a few things I could use some feedback/opinions on, if anyone is up for it.

My main concerns have to do with timing:

9:00 to 19:00 is a really long day. So, I would suggest trimming it to 10:00-18:00 (hey, it’s Sunday!). Secondly, we probably need to add lunch. Is there a plan for that already? Thirdly, I would suggest adding in a walk during the day. There is a way to actually continue the workshop while walking, which is both healthy and fun. Is there a nice itinerary we could think of? (Max 1 hour, so about 3-4km.)

While 30-45 minutes is probably good for tackling a project, it can get a bit unpredictable (in both directions: not having enough time to finish or finishing early). Personally, I strongly prefer a “natural flow”, where we move things forward as fast as comfortable, but without artificial cut-off points. The only way to do this is to have participants agree that their project might not end up getting discussed and do a little exercise early on to determine in what sequence we will tackle the stories/projects. I think if this is communicated early on, it won’t be a problem. Also keep in mind that everyone is pretty busy all the time, so it’s not like you have to wait for your turn. What do you think?

The last issue has to do with number of participants. Again, I prefer a naturalistic approach: whoever comes is the right people. I can do the intro/explanation for a fairly large group if necessary and I’m suspecting Edgeryders attracts a lot of people with experience in similar techniques that will easily pick up on my cues. The one thing that complicates things is AV equipment: we do need more DSLR- and videocameras if more people come. Thoughts?

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Some quick thoughts…


re: duration. For how long and what you decide to do with the group as a facilitator is up to you - so sure, go for 10:00 - 18:00. Hey, I suggested a 3 hour workshop, so what do I know. Who does the work calls the shots… People should probably have lunch, although if you look at the program Sunday is free for us to decide when and where. Maybe we cook, maybe we order in, but yes, we’ll have lunch.

re: 30-40 mins per project: this gets solved by saying “we aim to have minimum x number of good stories at the end of the day. first come, first served. register your story here and we’ll get back to you” or something. After all, you ask people to sign up as story or storyteller, so you will know ahead how many stories you have and can manage expectations no?

no. of people: again, I think it solves in the description of the workshop. Given that this workshop happens in parallel to other sessions, I don’t think you’ll have too many.

Finally, can you take us through what you need and from whom tomorrow in the community call at 11 am cet? if not, let me know how I can help? Is all the info in this wiki or should we do a sprint and update it fully? How do we roll with getting participants on board, anything you need? on the top of my head: a number of tweet-like creative calls for registration + maybe graphics + maybe a snapshot of you on camera as a sneak peek?

Ok rounding off - confirm if I you agree?

Selection of projects/people: Everyone is welcome to participate with their own projects, but we will be focusing video production/writing support on people working on projects or problems related to OpenCare.

Artefacts:  for each selected project we will support participants to produce :1 high resolution photo + 1 written story + 1 Short Video.

Roles and responsibilities:

1) @Thomas_Goorden: Responsible for recruitment of Belgian participants, driving the workshop and delivery of videos. Suggested process: The one you posted above, ensuring there is sufficient time slotted for the hands on production of video and accommodation of Natalia’s requirements for ability to delivery written pieces. Reference materials: Can you point to example video material that you think is great storytelling so people know what to aim for/expect? Can we agree on a minimum number of videos?

2) @Natalia_Skoczylas: Responsible for delivery of written stories. Suggested process: contact people who register for the workshop through the form, ask them some questions to help learn more about what they are doing ahead of the event. With the aim of identifying people who may have a few good stories relevant to the OpenCare initiative, and focus your efforts during the workshop into on developing those onto great articles for publishing on  Reference materials: Can you point to example articles which you think are great storytelling so people know what to aim for/expect? Can we agree on a minimum number of articles?

3) @Nadia: Manning the confessional booth. Thomas can you help me set up sharp audio/lighting?

4) Storytellers: Part of this work can probably be put under the “documentation and storytelling” tasks. Last year we had a serious onboarding session for the documentation team the day before the event started. We also made sure to include documentation instructions in the booklet with program, participants directory etc that handed out on registration. S

Equipment: We need DSLR cameras and laptops for this session. So we need to make a call for participants to bring this with them, doable @Noemi? Maybe SmartBe has some cameras and mics available @ireinga?

Confessional booth: I think this is a nice idea for everyone at LOTE actually. Maybe we could put it at the registration desk as something people do on arrival during my opening session (talk to me bubble exercise)?

Yup, sounds good! (with additions)

What I would add.

Important: Every story/project will go home with at least one diagram or chart as well. In a certain way, I think this will prove more interesting/relevant than the picture. If we can scan it on the spot, that might be good/interesting.

For the storytellers/documentalists, as I mentioned to @Nadia, this should fit in very naturally with the format. There should be plenty of clear “insight” moments, which we definitely need to capture (primarily in writing, although it might sometimes be suitable for another format/medium as well).

As far as reference material is concerned, the “confessional booth” really is a new idea, but I can look around. I guess it would look somewhat like the better Youtube “webcam confessionals”.

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Hey @Nadia and Thomas, sure, looks good. I need access to the subscriptions to the workshop (I guess Nadia or @Noemi has it?) so I can start contacting people. I will pick some stories from the platform, some of the future makers and maybe the posts from the stewardship voyage. I think these were very good.

About the number, I will do my best to deliver 5 - but this will depend on the number of participants who do something about health care. Let’s say I deliver at least 1/2 of the number of participants dealing with health care, so for 6 people at least 3 stories, and so on. Works?