How can service designers use storytelling ingredients to improve their services and communication?

We are excited to share the full recording of the one-hour conversation with Romain Pittet, a communication consultant and storytelling educator. During the session, Romain introduced the concept of Storytelling and how Service Design practitioners can benefit from it. The webinar was followed by a Q&A session where participants asked questions.

Rewatch the full webinar or watch selected clips below
The video has chapters so that you can easily re-watch a specific part of the conversation.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:17 About Romain Pittet
  • 02:48 What is storytelling?
  • 03:27 Classical communication vs Storytelling
  • 09:09 Community definition of storytelling
  • 09:42 Storytelling myths 
  • 15:02 Five storytelling ingredients
  • 21:54 Summary of the 5 storytelling ingredients
  • 22:23 Bringing Storytelling into Service Design 
  • 31:35 Storytelling technics
  • 36:42 Resources for better storytelling
  • 38:57 The link between Service Design and Storytelling
  • 39:57 Q&A
  • 39:59 Scenes tool by SAP
  • 41:36 Storytelling mistake
  • 46:17 Conclusion

Resources to go further on Storytelling and Service Design

Physical tools for Storytelling

Models about Storytelling

Books on Storytelling

Canvases that blend Service Design and Storytelling

Articles on Storytelling by Romain Pittet


But... Therefore..." Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park) Plotting Advice

Here a few resources on storytelling that have been mentioned during the event either by Romain Pittet or community members:

Replies to audience questions and reactions

Juan Fankhauser: The numbers also reduce the empathy of the people, you don’t connect to a number, but to persons, or people.

Spot on! As humans, we react to human situations. That’s the reason why you always need to personify your content by adding names and/or descriptions of the people involved. If you’re talking about things in general or just sharing thoughts, you’re allowed to add imaginary people. Key learning: Whatever you’re talking about, make it about people or relate it to people.

DC: Our main mode for communication in the Ontario Government is slide decks and what I've come to understand that even when presenting using decks, you still need to be able to tell a story.

True! I’d even go as far as saying that you especially need to be able to tell a story when you’re presenting a slide deck. Because presentations are usually boring and most people have some sort of Pavlovian reflex as soon as they enter the room. Use stories to win their attention back, because your slides won’t.

Amalia: I was on a delayed flight due to air traffic controller strike. The captain explained why it was happening, and also helped us emoathise with the strikers. After that, the captain came out to serve coffee. This helped us empathise with context and character, and people were calm.

That’s a good example as to why you should always give people some context. Most humans are curious creatures, eager to know and understand. In fact, when we only get truncated information, our brains usually make up stories to fill the gaps. That’s how badly we’re story addicts! So keep in mind that by providing details and context, you’re exiting instruction mode and entering story mode.

David Russo: If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the US over the past 6 years is how stories can be powerful instruments of persuasion

Right, stories are really powerful. We shouldn’t leave the to people with bad intentions. In fact, the “storytelling” word is sometimes used as “something not entirely true, used to manipulate”. This has to stop! I love the quote by Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones:

What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? No. It’s stories. There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.

DC: Can you remember a story you tried to tell but it didn't convey what you wanted. Why to you think it missed the mark?

I don’t have a specific example in mind, but from my experience one trap is getting too personal. You get lost in memories and you take shortcuts. You relive the story and since you have a crystal-clear image in your head, you forget to tell some details. So people have a hard time following you and you don’t connect as deeply as intended. Keep in mind that your audience is outside your head, so you’d rather give too many details than too few.

Linda Paulauska: I think for storytelling to get the wanted result it is important to choose the right way to reach audience. How do you decide where to publish the story to reach the targeted audience?

This is a tricky question because it’s all the subtle and often forgotten work of strategic planning ???? There’s no easy answer here, but in my opinion it’s not only a question of place. The moment is key – the moment and the state of mind your audience is in. So always think about the where AND the when to make your choice.

​As promised during the webinar here are additional answers to questions that we didn't have the time to cover during the event. Thanks a lot, Romain, for having taken the time to answer even more questions outside of the webinar!


Let's start with our lovely guest Romain Pitet on the topic of service design and storytelling. 

So, Romain, welcome. We're extremely thankful for the time you are spending with us. you are a good old mate but I'd prefer if you could present yourself. 

About Romain Pittet

I'm Swiss. I was born in England and I've lived a pretty all my life in Switzerland. Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved to tell stories, but in French telling stories can be telling stories or telling lies, which means that my first idea was to become a lawyer. And while studying law was cool, but working in the legal field was not that much fun.

So I decided to change. And then I became a communication specialist, like 20 years ago and ever since, but I've never had any regrets. That's something I should notice. And yes I've been telling stories ever since. So really happy with my life right now. And I've worked in agencies in companies.

And for about three years now, I've been a freelance consultant in communications and public relations. And. In all this journey, I spent I think, four years working with Daniela at Enigma in Geneva, with also Anne that I see in the not introvert Who turned out a webcam, so that was quite an adventure.

Indeed. It's a lot 

of old Enigma folks. We had Pascal last time, and this time it's you. So we're trying to have everyone, which is lovely. And I think there is one thing that you forgot to mention, which is you are also someone who is a community leader. You're doing kind of similar stuff like the service design network, but on your side.

Can you tell us a bit more about that? 

Yes, I have the pleasure to be the co-president of the associate, which is the the Professional Association of Pub Public Relations practitioners in French speaking Switzerland. So we are I'm co-president with another co-president who is a female. So we are really equal and diverse.

It's perfect. And also I. I teach in some schools in Western Switzerland. I teach either communication strategy or writing. Awesome. I see 

you as you. I think you have this particularity of being someone who is not only a community leader but also someone who loves teaching and I think we will really enjoy that part of you, and we will use it to get all of the information that you have in your brain today.

So let me start.

What is storytelling?

What the fuck is this storytelling thing? 

What the fuck is storytelling? Storytelling is is the, it's about using techniques and tools from storytelling from so from book writing or screenwriting or writing for TV and films to use this kind of tools and methods. In classical communications or in classical interaction, like in management, politics, HR, et cetera, et cetera.

So it's really taking things from the world of stories and using them in classical communications. 

Classical communication vs Storytelling

So maybe, what's the difference between classical communication? You say classical communication versus storytelling? Isn't it both just communication? 

Yes, both are communications, right? Let's say that classical communication, communications is not one thing.

It's it's an array of different methods or approaches. And sometimes when you communicate, you are very factual. You are very data oriented and very Abstract sometimes and using storytelling helps you to be let's take a shortcut to be more human. I think because you are using emotions.

You are using people. You are using anecdotes and little details from the real world. And it's, it gives them. I think it's ends up in the communication that it's more rich, more human and more interesting usually, but it doesn't mean that not using storytelling is bad or it's a mistake.

There are some situations where you have to be very direct and very factual and some others where you can add details and emotions and use storytelling. So it's a really. A matter of moments goals issues, et cetera. Okay. So it's 

really about bringing the emotions in. Instead of just starting with raw facts okay, this is Romain, he is the best, that's it.

But speaking a bit about his history and and giving a bit more context. And I like this idea that you're saying that it's not good or bad, but that you have to choose. There are moments that you'd rather go on hard facts, and there are moments where you go rather on a bit of a more storytelling approach.

It really depends. On your own goal as a communicator do you have to take information from urban from your brain and put it into other people's brains? Or do you have to To to exchange emotions and something more human if you have to convince someone to do something, it will be storytelling is always useful, but it will be more about really showing the value for the people.

If you have to make sure someone knows something they have to know you have to get the facts out very quickly. If you want to. To transmit something that is more about opinion or the English is really me. Yeah. Ideas or sensations, then storytelling is really the right tool, I think.

Yeah. Okay. Okay. And... But it's, the reason we we, not me, of course, it's it's very old, but the reason... A communicators started using storytelling is that we or research has shown that we humans are really wired in some way to experience a story in a much more engaging and complete way than when we hear facts or data or things very rational.

So when you read the story, when you hear a story, your brain is really. Tricking your whole body into living this story. And once we've known this, we said, okay, we have to use this tool to communicate in a, in this way, because when you're used to retaining your communications are people pay more attention.

they understand better and they remember better. So it's really, so that's why 

we use storytelling. So it has a lot of advantages. So it's not just about giving an information that people just will understand and know, and maybe agree with, but also to give them the sensation to be there in the place and that they can live it, experience it, maybe be empathic with the situation.

This reminds me of a study, which was quite. Astonishing for me back in the days when I was working in, in, in the NGO world there was a study that showed that if you showed there was one ad shown, which was 15 kids die per day, please donate to save their lives. And then you had another version where it was the story of one kid.

And what they found out, which was astonishing to me, was that it worked less well with the pure facts, which were true, than with the story that was very limiting in a way. And the worst thing is that the pure facts, when they made the interviews to understand why people didn't donate in that situation, people said, I got depressed with that one.

I had no sense of hope. Because. I was like, okay, I can't do nothing. The five bucks I will give will not change anything. And on the story side, people could relate to, okay, five bucks could make a difference in that person's life. So I feel that there, there is something that's quite interesting.

This mix of not just, it's not just a story, but it's also this mix of knowledge and story and emotion. 

It's really, yeah, it's really interesting and it's I think it because with what we usually say in communications and in storytelling, you have to Tell something that is specific and and real and rich in details so that people can really identify and feel if you are really theoretical and get the big picture all the time, where people don't really dive into the topic.

So they don't act the same way. 

Community definition of storytelling

I think Linda puts it well in the chat. I will just read her summary. She did a perfect summary. She said for me, storytelling means to take readers with you in easy following language. Storytelling is making the story easy to understand for regular reader, emotions and humanized story.

Awesome. I think we already have a good understanding of what this storytelling thing might be, and the

lies thing. 

Storytelling myths 

You said in the beginning, when you presented yourself, in French we have this, storytelling, stories can be either lies or stories, and it's the same word. Strangely enough. And I'd like to ask you what are some other lies or other myths, myth that you have that you know about storytelling that you say, Oh, these are preconceived ideas that you'd like to debunk before we go further.


There are a few, I think the first thing that we should really insist on is that storytelling is just, it's just a tool. One tool. Among others. It's a very powerful tool, of course, but it's not self sufficient. It's not just because you're telling a story won't be enough to make your topic interesting or to help you succeed and achieve your goals.

It's a powerful tool, but you have to use it well to get benefits. It's not only, it's not only, Oh, I use writing. So it's okay. This is something you can have, very bad stories or stories very badly told, which won't be as effective as maybe classical communication, but. very effective.

So it's not enough to tell a story to it. That's something I think it's important. Another thing is you don't really have, you can use storytelling without telling real stories. Okay. Let me elaborate on this. A story would be once upon a time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and you have a real story and you can use this story to, to convey ideas or signification or morale or something.

But you can also not really tell a story with real characters with a. Start, middle, end, but you can use some techniques or some some tricks from storytelling and put them into a text that it's not really a story. And it will work quite as well because you're, you can trick the brain into believing it's, oh, it's like a story.

So I will behave like it's a story, even if it's not a real story. I hope I'm not too confusing with this. But this is important. You don't have to really tell a story to use storytelling. And I think we can back on this, maybe later on. Another thing is some people say they are like, Two, three, four or five different structures or ways to tell a story.

And if you're not using that, it's not real storytelling. I think it's wrong. We know that humans are really all humans have storytelling skills. We tell stories all the time. When you meet your colleagues at work in the morning and something happened yesterday, you have, you will tell them and it's a story.

I. I left work yesterday and I ran into someone and we drank something at the cafe. And then this happened and said, et cetera, et cetera. So we all. are capable of telling stories. It's not really that difficult. It's the, I think the more difficult is probably to accept and assume that you are telling stories and you have the right to tell a story and you and to get out of this idea that in the professional world, you have to be very distant, very rational, very abstract.

No, we can be human. We can be natural. And this is something that you can use in starting. And this is something that I liked in the comment by Linda because it's it's making the story easy to understand for It's for if it isn't, it's to be human and this is the, I think one of the most difficult things that we meet and encounter in the business and job life is that somehow some people or some organizations are asking us to not be too human at work and be more like robots and machines and think more like in, in data and and binary code.

And I think that's wrong. 

It's extremely interesting to see that first, there is this idea that it's not all white or black, it's it's a story or it's not a story. There is like a gray scale, you can say, Oh, we can we can put elements. And I think that's, Really what I'd like to dive more deeply with you in which is this notion of how can we as service designers, people who are not storytellers, we will not start a session or put stories in a service, like one step upon a time.

There was a little dragonfly. We will not start with this kind of stuff, but. What are these ingredients that we can use and you know that we can add in our service that add storytelling elements that tell our brain, Oh, this is a human interaction. This is something that speaks to my emotion that speaks to my imaginations.

So let's say maybe in that element, do you have maybe one or two examples of. Of these non stories that use story elements. 

Yeah. I don't have exact examples really, but 

5 storytelling ingredients

I can really tell more about these techniques and these tools from certain that we can use. And I think the first one is characters.

The story is about characters, right? You have hero, you have bad guys you have neutral guys and the story is really about people and as a reader or as someone in front of the TV, you can really identify with these people. And sometimes I'm a man, I can identify to a woman I'm, I think I'm a good guy, but I can identify to a bad guy sometimes.

And the fact that we. That stories show really human people means that we as human can really identify and live the story through these people. And what does it mean to for communications or services? Whenever you have to explain something just using, names of people can really help, I think your audience to figure out who the service is for or how it works and why it's important because you have people and emotions and then you can really be in the, in the situation or in the context that the service is helping. So really using characters is something very important, I think. And usually it's just like your example, just from before the natural way of communicating or speaking or something would be to have a generalization say, okay, all the people are doing things like this and blah, blah, blah, blah.

But if you say not all people are doing like this, but Daniela. Usually has a problem because blah, blah, blah, blah. It's much more interesting. So really having specific. People inside the process of telling something is a little trick. It's not a real story, but it helps bringing the idea that it's like a story.

So characters are really important. Second thing, I think, second thing is the context. Every story happens in a specific environment. Sometimes it can be a whole invented world outside our galaxy very far away. And sometimes it's a real street in New York City where you can really go and see the shops, and see the store, et cetera.

But invented or not, it truly something very specific in this context gives a lot of sense to the story. And as a reader, you can really say, okay in this, and in this world, things are like this. So if the hero does something, does that, it will be bad. And you can really understand how it works and take parts in the thing and really understand why things are happening.

Or even sometimes you can really anticipate, Ooh, that will be a problem. So in our communications or in service and providing context can really make things. More understandable and help people to figure out why, how it works, et cetera, et cetera. So we shouldn't be. shy to, to provide a lot of details to, to shape the context to help people understand.

You love, I know you love talking about experience. So I had an experiment which confirms this. There were two groups of people and they got a set of instruction, like a sheet with a 20, I think, 2025 steps for a process. And they had to remember it. And and sometime later give it back and.

One group had just the instructions and the other group had the same instructions, but a little sentence at the start, which said something like, this is how you use the washing machine. And just by providing this context, the group that had this information, remember the set the instructions much more than the first group, because they could figure out.

Oh. That's how, that's where it's used so I can really process things better. So it really shows that context is really important. You should really use it in communications or in anything that has to convey information or sensations. So that was for second. Third is about timeline. A story happens in the timeline.

There's this and then that, et cetera, et cetera. And this whole succession of events really helps you remember the story and tell it to other people. We are as humans, we are really we react to this timeline and to this Succession of events really well. So we can really use chronology and time time indications to help people follow the story or the instructions or the the explanations of something.

So I think it's, it can really be used as in some of these as well. And another thing, of course, is emotions in the business world. Usually we don't have a lot of emotions. When you open an Excel sheet, you usually, you don't laugh. Sometimes you cry, but it's not really good sign. Let's say we don't have a lot of emotions and once again companies, organizations, they don't really.

like the idea of being emotional. It's changing a bit, I think, but still we are expected to be more like robots than real humans. So when you read a book, when you watch a TV show, there are of course lots of emotions. And this is what we love watching the shows or reading the books and putting emotions.

Into our text, our copy, our explanations can really be something that will help people be more engaged in the explanations or in the process. And that's I think something very interesting. And probably the last thing that I should mention is images. When you read a book. You only have words on the page, but in your brain, you have a whole movie.

And you can really use this trick when you write something, when you explain something using metaphors or images or comparisons so that people can really view something in their brain and not only listen to facts and data and have to figure out things. So it's really important to use these images.

And some, I don't have an exact example in mind, but some product or service names use this because they're, they have named that, help us remember something or compare to something in the real world and it's, it works. So that's a real quick list of things that you can use in communications or I think service design or service design explanations or presentations to help people understand and remember better.

And it's simplified by with starting. It's not through the stories. 

Summary of the 5 storytelling ingredients

So we have five ingredients that we can use as service designers to, to add some sparkles of story elements. Can you, could you just summarize them again, just to give us a 

little, the overview. So you should use characters.

You should set a context. You should use a type of timeline, you should use emotions, and of course, you should use images. Awesome. 

Bringing Storytelling into Service Design 

I'd love to try an experiment with you. This is something that is totally unscripted, but I'd love to do that with you. In my mind, my understanding of this.

storytelling ingredients. Let's call them like that. We could use them in two different ways in the, in our world of services. One, one way would be the, Oh, I'm using these in order when I have to communicate. For example, when I create a service blueprint or I create a research report and I add some of these elements.

to make my report or my service booking more readable and easier to use. That's one avenue that I'd like to explore with you. And then the other avenue is the, okay, we, so it's the backstage avenue, if we can call it like that. And then there is a front stage avenue where it's using story elements within the services.

So if we are a cafe, adding elements in the cafe experience, that's Create this notion of of story. So let's try it. How I'd love to try with you to take each of these elements and to place it once in the backstage, once at the back in the front stage and see how we could use it. So let's maybe start with the first one, which is, which was again, the first one.

Characters. Okay, characters. How would you use character, for example, in a research report or a service blueprint? How would you add character elements in something which is quite dry like that?

Okay. I've, it's been a long time since I last read a blueprint. But I think you can really there, there is this concept of persona that we use in marketing. And I know you use it as in service design as well. So persona is really, is already using characters in, inside your your work actually.

So you could use them as well. And you could also yes instead of having a service blueprint, which would be step a, this happens, step b, this happens, you could just introduce thing. And then let's imagine that Linda is walking into our cafe. Linda will first encounter this and just by saying Linda will, it's, I think it's already more interesting than just saying step A is this, step B is that, I think, I don't know, maybe Linda disagrees, but so that's for the for the backstage and for the front stage.

How would we use it in a cafe? I have a weird idea. Yeah it's one that I've seen in many hotels now they do that where, you have your room and the next you go in your room, you sleep, and then you leave and you go in the city. Usually your bed is not in a wonderful way.

And when you come back, it's really well done. And now what they do often, they add the photo like Linda. Made your bed today, and you have the photo of Linda and this is Linda and her signature and it's oh, there is a human behind that, it's not just, it wasn't an AI that came and made this magically, but oh, I can relate to Linda.

She looks like like another friend that I know. 

Oh, that's interesting. That's a good that's a good example. I experienced something. Fairly similar a few years back. I had a problem with my TV box and I had to call to call the call center like at 10:00 PM so I provide a bit of context.

I ordered a new TV box that finally. would help me experience HDTV. It was a few years back, of course. It took two or three days so that to get the package at home, etc. So I had it, I was, Yes, tonight I will be installing this and experiencing HDTV for the first time in my house. And I tried it, and I put cables in, et cetera, et cetera.

It didn't work for, I don't know what reason. So I had to call them and they said, Oh, let's try this and this. Okay. It's probably the remote control, but so that we are sure we will send you a whole new set with the box. remote cables, et cetera, et cetera. We really, sorry, because it's 10 PM.

It won't be at your home tomorrow. It will be the day after, but we can't really do things better. We hope it's okay. Okay. Whatever the guy was quite nice at the phone and. I got the package the day after tomorrow, and in the package, there was everything that they said there would be, and there was also a small USB stick I don't remember, but it was quite a big stick, a big capacity for the time, and there was a signed note written, handwritten notes by the guy on the phone, who said really sorry about this experience, we hope it will be okay this time, and it's a little gift to thank you for your patience.

And I was like, wow, that's nice. So yes, I think it's very similar. So yes, showing the real people behind the service or the products is something that is a good use of this character thing. 

And it's something that, that marketers also now do, a lot of the notification newsletters and stuff now are not like info at something, but now it's like Ben from intercom exactly, and it adds this element of, Oh, okay.

I can, I prefer speaking with Ben from intercom than speaking with intercom. Yes, of course. Yeah. You're right. Awesome. Let's take the second aspect, which was the 


Okay. How do we use context when we maybe have a report to enrich the report? What would we, what could we do? 

I think something that could be interesting, but I would try it.

And I think as a reader, I would like it is would be to say, okay, this research for this research I went to Stockholm That was in February. There was a snow storm. It was quite a ride, but then we had a few days to to research things. And this is what we found, just a little thing that people can read and say, Oh, yeah, I, poor guy, I can relate or he's so picky.

I would love to be stuck on but something that makes it human, so really just to introduce things. 

Yeah, a little bit of the behind the scenes where it's okay, I get from where it's come. One thing that, that I find interesting with this notion of context is also sometimes it's useful to remember people, to remind people what's the emotion that triggered that research project.

Sometimes Hey, remember how we had this big problem and then we said, we need to fix it. That's why we are doing this project. And then, but not just saying, hey, do you remember back in the days, the boss said we have to do this, but going back to do emotion. Do you remember how we felt when this happened?

And, ah, it sucked so much. And now we're trying to fix that. By using this by going through this research. Okay, cool. So now let's go into front stage again. So how do we use context. 

I think it's quite in the cafe. I don't know, but maybe in the cafe. Let's say you don't give out plastic straws to people.

It's maybe not a real example because now we know that plastic straws are not good for the environment, but you could say, instead of saying we don't, there are no plastic straws, you could say why I think context is really about explaining things and explaining why we do things like we do instead of just saying, oh, that's the way it is.

We do it like this because it's just adding a because sets the context. In a way, so I think this is the easy way of using context in the front stage. 

It's basically for every signage elements that we could put explaining the why, not just saying forbidden to be don't park here, but don't park here because this is where the nurse will come and say, ah, okay, I'm a good guy.

I will not stop the nurse from coming here, which again, speaks to relate to emotions and relationships instead of 

just pure facts. Yes. Or you have maybe a sign saying Q is this way and you could just have Q is this way or Q is this way. We set this sign because last time we had a fight inside the cafe.

Giving a bit of context. Indeed. Awesome. 

So what's interesting for me was this little experiment that we just did was to show that. These elements was just a bit of thinking. And I think that's what we show here is just was a bit of brainstorming, taking the five elements as you described them and thinking, okay, how can I apply that?

Obviously if you do it with a friend, like we just did works really well to think, okay, how could we use it? Because it's quite simple in, in subway. Awesome. 

Storytelling technics

So let's continue what are all the tools, the techniques that you have in your suitcase or under your dress that you use when it comes to storytelling? Do you have little methods? Do you have elements that you use that you can say, Hey, Are these are elements that could be quite helpful. 

So the five elements that I shared earlier is really something important in my practice.

But something that I didn't say, I said, we can use storytelling without telling stories, which is right. But of course we can really use storytelling and tell stories, of course. And I think good storytellers or good managers or good leaders usually have this. Natural ability to say something like we should do it like we should do this.

And then they tell a little anecdote or a little story that happened to them or a friend, which illustrates why the thing that they think we should do is the right thing. So this means that you should always have a little stuck of short stories, anecdotes that can really be used to illustrate or underline what you're saying.

So you, then you can be like more direct. We should do this. So I think this is cool and tell a story. To explain or to confirm what way this is cool or why we should do this. So having anecdotes and paying attention to what happens and be able to use this in other contexts is really something that is useful.

If you are alone, it's not really a big deal because you have your own experience and then you can share things. If you are a team, it's much more of a challenge, of course, because we don't have all the same experiences, so we don't share the same stories. So we have to find a system to document or store these anecdotes and be able to use them.

In other contexts there is a really great book about this, which it's called putting stories to work by Sean Callahan. I will share it at the end. This is something really interesting because they They offer a system to identify the right anecdotes, store them, and how to use them correctly later on.

So this is important. Of course you can use storytelling without telling stories, but you can also use storytelling by adding anecdotes to what you're saying. I think the thing that I don't really use and I don't like is making up totally what a whole story to to convey or to transmit some information.

Instead of saying we should do this, saying creating stories saying why he should do this, I prefer to say we should do this. And we can do those. Something I experienced back in the day, blah, blah, blah, blah, or using these tricks that I said before with context, et cetera to help say why we should do this, but creating a whole way, transforming your classical communication or your classical pitch into a story like adding at once upon a time at the beginning, it doesn't work for me.

I'm not like, I don't use it. I'm not a fan. Yeah. 

That's super interesting, this idea that we can have a design system, that's something that we used to, but we can also have an anecdote or story system where we store these bits and elements and examples of how we use stories. And that can be something that then people who are maybe.

Less good at it can then have a look and say, Oh, okay. We, in our service, we use it like that. When we communicate we use these anecdotes to convey information. Pretty good. 

Thanks. Barack Obama is really it's not the only one, but it's the first person I have in mind. He's really good with this technique.

He says something and then he has an anecdote. Confirming this and this is really effective. One other thing that I can pull from another address is a little staying or advice that we really, we hear a lot in the stories that telling well, it's you should show and don't and not tell. To make sure you are really using storytelling, you shouldn't describe things too much.

But you should say things in the way that it's the audience job to understand and decipher. For example, you could say that Oh, this is quite a big guy. Or you can say this guy had to bend very down to to get in the door to enter the cafe. Both sentences say that he's he's told, but the second one means that the audience has to understand things.

And when you write, when you communicate, ask yourself, am I describing things or am I showing things that people have to understand? And if it's the second one, that it's it's more interesting. I think. Awesome. 


you so much, Huma. 

Resources for better storytelling

Before we go into questions, I will do a rapid fire of resources that you shared and I will quickly share my screen and just give a quick word about them so that we then can go into the questions of the people. So you mentioned a  few. Resources to me 

in preparation for this talk you had this thing, storyteller tactic, which is a set of cards that people can use to get into storytelling.

I will go. I  have to, give a disclaimer because I just had it today with men and I haven't really tried it, but it's beautiful and it really looks cool. It really looks good, but I haven't tried this car. So maybe we should. We should wait for a few days so that I can confirm that it's good. So check in with with Homer on LinkedIn in a week to see if it was worse, the 90 bucks that it costs to, to get that then there is the story cubes, which is a bit more of a.

For gamified experience about that then we had something back in the days that we created a bit together, which are a few canvases that make service design and storytelling. I will mention two and all of these stuff you will receive by email at the end, obviously. There is the service rhythm canvas, which tries to use this notion of having a sequence.

And trying to use sequences to create experiences. And we have another, which is the service census canvas. We had this element that we mentioned before, which was this idea that we wants to create images and use sensory elements, and this one helps us. to do that. You've wrote also a lovely article called five facts about storytelling that we will link and that you can find.

And for people who want one example of a framework that is a bit of a mashup of different frameworks, there is the five light bulb framework that is quite interesting. That's one that I use myself, that I find quite useful, especially for non storytellers, because it's quite well described and quite easy.

to follow. But enough about the resources. Let's have the questions of the people. Just raise your hands. And can I just add the last thing? Yes. Yes. Because 

The link between Service Design and Storytelling

I had this illumination earlier today when I was Being square scared about this this session. I said, okay, what are the ties between storytelling and service design?

And one thing that is I think, really important is that I think and probably we all agree that every product or every service that is designed in the world is a kind of response. Or solution to a problem, right? And when you have a problem and a solution, it's already a story. So I think every product, every service is a story in itself.

We just have to tell it like this and not try to get too abstract and rational about this. You should really tell it in a human way that this problem and the dissolution and this is why it's important. And this is who it concerns, et cetera, et cetera. 

Awesome. Thanks for that under the shower enlightenment that you had and sharing it for with us.


Scenes tool by SAP

josé, could you maybe elaborate on the tool that you just shared in the chat?

It's the scenes SAP SAP's a big company, a software company, and they have these, they have created these scenes that is all like a real life. miniature cartoon that you can describe a story and you can actually tell people to create a story. So for instance, you showed us the story cubes and sometimes you can use the story cubes to start the story, start rolling the story, and then you have them create like The factual thing of the story, say, I have this little doll that is a woman and she's trying to do this thing.

And then you can write or draw what you are trying to convey to this person. So it can actually help people. Create all of the elements of the story that that remain shared. But they are creating it with you. So it's not like you're just as a service designer doing the job, but you are trying to get the stakeholders to create the story.

Because sometimes the thing with communication is that people has an idea in their head, but when they say it, it's something totally different. And they think that you are reading their mind, and You are thinking that you're understanding them, but when they try, draw it or just share something else, write it, they are giving you a real life example of what they are trying to convey.

So it's a great tool for that. Thanks so much for sharing. 

Storytelling mistake

We have a question from DC, which says can you remember a story you tried to tell, but it didn't convey what you wanted? Why do you think it missed the mark?

So do you have an example like that on that where could you, your story just went flat and then you think oh, I missed 

that. But when you're telling a story, you become some kind of entertainer in a way. So you have to be comfortable with with putting a little bit of yourself and acting like a clown sometimes, or you should really. Not be too shy and push things further. So you can really I think go deeper into emotions or or problems or or events and Get back there and or try in a different way or go with a different example with different character and get back to it, but you have to be very clear about what you are trying to communicate or what effect you are trying to have.

And if you feel like you're not there yet, then you have to get back to it. I don't really have to, a real Magical one for that, but really you shouldn't be too shy to to get back to it because yeah, When you enter the storytelling mode, people really pay attention in a different way and they are usually More patient and more interested so you can you can go great.

It's I think it's it's The problem that I see regularly is that people are really comfortable telling stories to their friends, but when it's in the job environment, they are really shy. And I don't think they should be because when people tell great stories, people in front of them are happy with it.

So it's just something that we should extract ourselves from this false idea that we are not allowed to be human at work. That's it. Be more human. 

And it will work maybe to elaborate on that. I have an example that I can share of a story that went south. When using, when doing design research, often we try to show the people and, gave a direct quotes and this kind of stuff.

And in one project, what happened is that it misled the conversation where then all the conversation was then about methodology because people said, okay, this is one story. But why do we know that this is true for in general? And then we were like, oh shit, we forgot to put also the kind of reassuring knowledge that, hey, there is a method to it.

We're trying, we're taking out one story, but this one story is an example of larger pattern. And I think there for me, it was quite interesting to know, like to go from, oh having a presentation which was before very much data driven to something which was very story driven and then to notice that there is a good middle in between where you have also to set the basics right, in a report, you still have to speak about the methodology speaking about how you got to the data.

And then obviously you can tell the story, but before that you also, or after you need. To have these reassuring elements and that's, that, that was a good learning for me. 

Probably the people reacting like this are desperately trying to find a problem in your work because they don't, they're not confident with the conclusions because they say, Oh shit, we have to change everything now.

So they're trying to find an escape. So they try anything. It's not, I think it's not only because it was a story. It was, it was quite easy to say, Oh it's. One story about one person. It doesn't, it's not generic, but if you had. If you had come with something more data oriented, it would be like, oh, but the question was too oriented, or the question was not right, or people always have objections.

Yeah, but interestingly, since then, I always have in my reports one slide about Methodology and, why that number of people that I'm speaking to make sense, and with a lovely graph that looks very technical. And then usually, once I have that, I have never a question about stories and usually people come back and say, Oh, we would love more quotes in that one.

Since I have that slide, it's quite interesting. You don't know how you it's in for some audiences. They still need that just bit of. Data seal, seal of approval of data to then be able to get into emotion mode, which is a bit strange. Yeah. 


Awesome. Romain, do you have a last word that you'd like to share? Sure.

I've been quite enthusiastic about this. I had a real pleasure to share this these insights and to to elaborate on this in the little experiment. So I'm really happy to have been there and I can't wait to read all the messages and comments because I think there are testimonials and things that I can add answers to.

So that's that was a really good experience. 

Awesome. Thank you so much, Romain for sharing all your knowledge with us.

And again I state this very clearly. This is all volunteer work. So it is not normal that Romain is sharing all of his expertise with us in the, in this session. Once again, thank you so much.

This is an automated transcript of the webinar that might contain mistakes and some very creative sentences.

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