Friday, May 9, 2014

3 Tips to Creative Storytelling with technology

Conversations around innovation are often rooted in limitations. A creative team would like to know what is not possible, a brand wants to know possible risks, etc. Often the focus on what is not possible distracts everyone from the possibilities of what is possible.

Storytelling in action in galaxy far, far, away.
The point of technology is to assist a user experience. And the beautiful thing about a user experience is it is always wrapped in a story. Rather than look at a technology set a set of barriers that a creative idea needs to fit within, shift the perspective to start with a story with technology as a supporting role.

I would argue that the current state of digital provides limitless creative applications. The barrier lies in the stories - not in the technology.

How do we craft better stories with technology?
  1. Focus on people. Start with the user experience, or if we want to sound technical, the Human Interface. All stories have an arc and motivate reaction. Ignore technology entirely at this point.
  2. Create Momentum. With the human story in place, look for points where the imagination will begin to run. If the story arc guides the imagination, find the points that have opportunity to be reinforced. Perhaps the imagination stalls during details of the story, or perhaps the user needs to be primed so the store has the greatest effect. What tangible action can ignite the imagination? What literal elements can be removed to leave room for the mind to play? This will lead you to explore the medium of the storytelling experience and technology will naturally seep into consideration. Avoid crafting to what you know or a technology that seems to be an obvious fit.
  3. Use technology as a mirror or support (not both). Begin to weave the use of technology on the same path as what was identified to create momentum; using it as a tool to mirror the momentum of the story and augment the imagination, or to support the story and create momentum where the human experience lacks. If you find that technology is mirroring and supporting the story, you're likely forcing things together. What's the point of a story if it needs technology? Simplify and always fall back to the human experience.
Helping people to tell their crafted story with the help of technology is often how I spend my day. I have yet to become an expert, but have learned a few lessons the hard way. Creative technology without a story can be compared to a creative tactic without a story - without the story (or strategy if you prefer) it is clutter.