Excerpts from an ongoing project that began April 27, 2017, with a sold-out Design Week Portland presentation with Justin Wade.
The world is full of noise: 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day.
The world is full of signal too. But to hear the signal—to tell a story—you need to recognize patterns first.
Stories start with observation. Each act of telling begins with listening. As creators and communicators, we need to expand our myopic focus on storytelling.
Story listening is a direct outcome of data people putting their heads together with word people and visual people. Story listening is curiosity and narrative applied to data.
Journalists and scientists tend to be excellent observers. Designers tend to be excellent at presenting positions. Designers and writers and analysts could better inform their work by adopting more receptive, journalistic practices—by chasing leads, identifying hooks and outlying information, speaking uncomfortable truths—and more scientific methods of observation and research.
My colleagues and I are steering our design process toward a more interdisciplinary model. Story listening is a direct outcome.
Our world is a massively complex, interrelated storm system. As creative and social animals, we no longer have the luxury of relying on unexamined assumptions, personal biases, gut feelings and ignorance, willful or accidental. There’s just no room anymore.
We've started exploring these ideas, and more than a few practical creative insights, on story-listening.com.