An ecology of story for the well-being of community and democracy

Submitted by PeggyHolman on Wed, 06/04/2008 – 9:00am

My friend and colleague, Tom Atlee, founder of the The Co-Intelligence Institute, developed a map of stories entitled Whole System Learning and Evolution — and the New Journalism
that I think has great potential as a way of thinking about what is
required for both great stories and great story-telling organizations.
In the version below, I changed a few terms (e.g., “community” became
“connect” to create consistency of form) and I added four verbs (in
blue) that, framed as questions, I think could provide a tool for
assessing the likely effectiveness of a story or a news organization.
The questions that Tom’s model sparked for me:

• Does it inform? (a primary focus of traditional journalism)
• Does it engage? (a primary focus of the emerging social networking sites)
• Does it inspire? (almost virgin territory, but hinted at by the idea of “possibility journalism”)
• Does it activate? (also exciting terrain)

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About Peggy Holman

Peggy Holman supports organizations and communities to uncover creative responses to complex challenges using innovative engagement processes. The Change Handbook, co-authored with Tom Devane and Steven Cady, documents many such processes. The book is the considered the definitive resource for leaders and consultants working to increase resilience, agility, and collaboration in organizations and other social systems. Peggy co-founded Journalism that Matters in 2001 with three journalists to support the pioneers who are shaping the emerging news and information ecology. Peggy’s latest book, Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity, supports people facing disruptions to invite others to join them in realizing new possibilities.