When we begin tracking key events in the life of an organization, we discover the raw materials that make great stories. We use the materials to develop a topical narrative unique to the individual enterprise.
The components of the Epic Story may come from a new and as yet unrecognized method, from incidents of industry leadership, from a trendsetting vision for the future, or even from a remarkable turnaround from debt to prosperity. We write Epic Stories that inspire people, because they touch on things that we all wrestle with: the nitty-gritty details of successful adaptation.
Through these stories, collectives draw people closer because they are sharing more of who they are and what they’ve learned.
To track the story, we create a narrative board that is anchored in the collective’s agenda, the reason it exists. Then we examine various events on the board, first in chronological order. We prefer see the storyline unfold in a visual format as “flash cards” on the board. We investigate various ways the story can flow. We can construct stories chronologically, geographically and through interdisciplinary relationships.
Our stories have been captured both in print and video mediums.
University of Arizona: “Thinking The Impossible”
Our Epic Story for University of Arizona was developed to celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday as well as the university’s more than 135 years of innovation in science and technology. We mapped the remarkable invention pathway of ten of the university’s brilliant scientists.
The award winning video we produced communicated UA’s position as a global scientific and technological leader that attracts brilliant individualists who collaborate across disciplines to develop and commercialize innovations impacting millions of lives in many ways. Watch the video.
Krikawa Jewelry Designs: “Redesigning An Art Form Into A Beautiful Business”
When we began working with owner Lisa Krikawa, she had already put her award-winning design and production studio on a high-growth trajectory using a new business model. But she didn’t realize that she had created a truly new model.
Looking at success patterns, we discovered Krikawa’s originality and the details of an adaptive strategy that had transitioned the company from rags to riches. In our press kit for Krikawa, we chronicled the company’s remarkable journey from traditional to trail blazer. Krikawa had cultivated a sophisticated international audience and was now positioned to become a renowned luxury and celebrity jeweler for those looking to uniquely express who they are and invest in fine art wear.
A great example of transparency, our epic storyline for Krikawa Jewelry Designs leveraged the company’s culture—its values, beliefs, lessons learned and problem solving abilities.
While the company’s products stand on their own as high quality fine art, we focused more on its inner life than its products to create a genuine connection with customers.
Healthy Building Network: “It All Starts Here”
HBN is a non-profit that is doing great work to make the materials we build with healthier for us. In the U.S. we build almost entirely with synthetic materials that are chemically processed or treated. Designers, builders and building owners rarely know what building materials are made from and often learn about health concerns after a project is completed.
When we began our work with HBN, they knew they were doing good work, but didn’t know how to substantiate it and tell their story. We used the life forming Event Line to identify the organization’s critical path. Now we could see through historical context how this non-profit had adapted to move the building industry from forced regulation to voluntary improvement.
Our Epic Story, first prepared for social impact investors, describes in detail how this organization is transforming an entire industry.
Town of Marana: “Pioneering People On A Corridor Of Change”
The Town of Marana wanted to differentiate their community from the large metropolis of Tucson to the south. We began by digging into their history by conferring with subject matter experts to develop a heritage-based cultural Asset Inventory. From the cultural Asset Inventory we mapped out patterns of success over thousands of years in an Event Line. We also conducted qualitative interviews and other fact-finding activities with a broad range of stakeholders.
Bringing together our quantitative and qualitative research, we created an Epic Story called Pioneering People On A Corridor of Change. Marana tells their story to newcomers and uses it to attract businesses that share the same values and beliefs.
Patagonia Public Schools: “The Perfect Storm”
Our narrative for Patagonia Public Schools chronicles 15 years in the history of the local school system in a small rural town near the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. During this period, the school and the community were unexpectedly disrupted by a “perfect storm” of events.
Our Epic Story reveals how Patagonia Public Schools bounced back from adversity by tapping into the strength of its 100-year foundation and reestablishing a new mission and vision.
Our Event Line offered PPS a unique perspective on its own transformation. Students and community are now the center of a Patagonia Public Schools agenda to advance the important role that small rural public school system’s play in our society.
Innovation Frontier Southwest: “The Desert Route to the West”
Our Epic Story for the Innovation Frontier Southwest (IFS), region that spans from Yuma, Arizona to Las Cruces, New Mexico, begins in the mid-19th century, when hundreds of thousands of Americans, took to the nation’s trails to reach the West Coast. in an historic human migration.
The IFS region was the desert route to the West Coast, a “yellow brick road” that crossed western Texas, southern New Mexico and southern Arizona to southern California.
The desert route to California became a key link in the realization of the United States’ westward expansion, offering a safer more reliable route with better weather than the more northern trails. Development of the route was inspired by the belief that the United States was better equipped than other cultures to utilize this territory by building an industrial economy. The sentiment is captured in the words of journalist Horace Greeley: “Go West, young man, go West.”
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