True Storytelling Institute®

About

What is True Storytelling

True Storytelling consists of seven principles and seven processes you can use as tuning forks when you plan, facilitate, or evaluate a project and as a way to create a true and ethical life for yourself and the community or organization you are a part of. The method will help you to overcome challenges with implementation and aid in developing a long-term sustainable solution.

The method True Storytelling was developed in Copenhagen, Denmark, back in 2016 by the American professor David Boje, Jens Larsen, who is the founder of the consulting company Old Friends Industries, and Lena Bruun, who is an experienced leader and creator of the award winning Danish rock museum – Ragnarock. The method combines Boje’s years of research in storytelling and organizations with real-life consulting, cases, and inspiration from philosophy and arts. The True Storytelling book was published in 2020 by Routledge.
The method has been developed further by Professor Grace-Ann Rosile and Dr. James Sibel, and the numerous Graduate Trainers involved in the True Storytelling Institute®.

7 True Storytelling Principles

1. Truth: You yourself must be true and prepare the energy and effort for a sustainable future
2. Make room: True storytelling makes spaces respecting the stories already there
3. Plot: You must create stories with a clear plot creating direction and help people prioritize
4. Timing: You must have timing
5. Help stories along: You must be able to help stories on their way and be open to experiment
6. Staging: You must consider staging including scenography and artifacts
7. Reflecting: You must reflect on the stories and how they create value

The True Storytelling Institute® is for you who are longing for a new approach to leadership and changes, and at the same time want to grow in your personal life. The True Storytelling Institute® is the manifestation of years of work with storytelling as an agent for change in organizations and in personal and cultural interactions.

The Institute is also an academy and community for research in storytelling and change management. We have extensive experience from working with private and public organizations and NGO’s around the world. We offer powerfull certificate programs, along with courses and consultancy on sustainability issues.

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True Storytelling is conversations Improving Relationships among Persons, Peoples, and Planet

Storytelling is the sensemaking currency of our lives. We understand (make sense of) our world through stories. Our predictions of the future are based on our understandings of our past. Our past is a series of stories which we have selected and called “history.” Thus our lives are lived in a rememberance of the past, which leads to an anticipation of the future, and that combination of past and future shapes what we think of as our present lived experience.

When we choose to take action to influence our own life stories, those choices and actions  are based upon future expectations of outcomes, and those outcomes already live within us as the embodied experiences of our personal and collective histories.

Our ability to control our lives depends on our ability to understand this interplay of future, past, and present, as dynamic “living storytelling”. “Conversational Storytelling” avoids dualisms (either-or terms like good-bad, right-wrong). Breaking out of the “either-or” opens infinite possibilities for understanding the “other” and the “different.” 

“Conversational Storytelling” is the True Storytelling process-oriented non-linear alternative to hierarchical and dualistic thinking and interacting. Conversational storytelling is our preferred “True Storytelling” means of finding common ground, it is our primary means of inquiry, and it is the key process of “together-telling”.

True Storytelling amidst the noise and cacophonous business storytelling, our mission is to get closer to answering basic existential questions; How to live an ethical life? How to be truthful in organizations that too often are not?  How to overcome estrangement from our own self, from nature, from one-another and from the meaning of life? This is captured in the words of Danish philosopher, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard:

“The truth is what ennobles”

Søren Kierkegaard

True Storytelling seeks to engage with many other paths to the Greek Square (True, Beautiful, Just and Good life). Our True Storytelling Principles do this by making room for overcoming what is fake storytelling. Beyond making space for engagement with others, we have found that True Storytelling conversations can help bridge divides where this is possible, without compromising one’s own truth.