Technique of the Week #4: Storytelling

What you need to know

  • Storytelling may take many different forms (e.g., written, oral, video, drawings)
  • Storytelling is good for sharing knowledge, values, and creating emotional connection among the recipients.
  • Stories are memorable via the availability heuristic, and through elaboration (ability to create a vivid image)
  • Embeds tacit knowledge and values in narrative form.
  • Not good for sharing critical skills.

Resources, time, and skill

  • Depends on the individual. There are a few ways to practice to become better at storytelling. Good storytellers:
    • Take experiences and form them into stories.
    • Articulate stories in an eventful and memorable way. Usually by providing listeners with insights or examples of project issues/outcomes. This allows for a Q&A between storyteller and listener.

Key Considerations

“Tell me a story, please.” Remember the asking, the feeling of anticipation, of possibility, the satisfaction of having understood. Connection to deeper meaning, exploring of new worlds or concepts, the sense of authentic human emotion combine to make storytelling a vital contribution to KMb. Storytelling as means of knowledge sharing and cultural transmission is deeply ingrained in being human.

What makes a story compelling, illustrative, meaningful, and effective?: authentic emotion, relevance to the audience, draws a vivid picture that illustrates a point, creates a question, or gives the listener the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective.

Incorporating storytelling in your KMb

  • Use storytelling to connect and engage, to illustrate key points or issues, to demonstrate the relevance of the knowledge to a situation.
  • Observe storytellers. For those that engage you, what were the critical factors that made it work? For those that leave you cold what were the factors? Analyse the aspects that made it work, and try to incorporate them into their story.
  • Create your story, then practice it, share with colleagues, observe the response, and get feedback, tape yourself and review it.
  • Think about your target audience. What aspects of your story will connect with their reality?

The take away

  • Effective stories have authenticity, context, focus, meaning, and are memorable.


Applications of storytelling in knowledge management

Using Storytelling As A Knowledge Mobilization Strategy

Digital Stories

Telling stories: Exploring research storytelling as a meaningful approach to knowledge mobilization with Indigenous research collaborators and diverse audiences in community-based participatory research.


Non-for profit storytelling

What it feels like to be a black professor


Call for Submissions: Systems Level Responses to Homelessness

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness invites chapter submissions for an edited volume: Exploring Effective Systems Responses to Homelessness. We are interested in research about service integration at the local level, broader systems integration work involving the homelessness sector and mainstream services, and horizontal and vertical models of system integration both within and between different levels of government, all of which are designed to increase the effectiveness of community responses, enhance collaboration, client flow through systems and ensure that people’s needs are met.

The research we are looking for should include structural or institutional analysis of collaboration, the efficacy of a particular coordinated response, what facilitates it and what impedes it. We are interested in submissions that are descriptive case studies, but also those that are of a more conceptual or theoretical orientation. We invite contributions from a range of academic disciplines (e.g., urban planning, political science, social work, anthropology, health sciences, sociology, education, and economics). The anticipated outcome of this book will be new knowledge that will enhance systems integration work at the community, regional and national levels. Since the aim is to reach both academic and non-academic audiences, we must strive for the use of clear language.

Abstracts are due January 30th 2015.

Please click here for more information.

Journal of Higher Education, Outreach, & Engagement

The Journal of Higher Education, Outreach, & Engagement is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal whose aim is to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between communities institutions of higher education.

Individuals who wish to disseminate their research in public service, outreach, engagement, extension, engaged research, community-based research, community-based participatory research, action research, public scholarship, service-learning, and community service may wish to publish their findings in JHEOE.

Visit: for more information

International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (IJSLE) Special Edition

The editors of the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (IJSLE) are pleased to announce publication of the most recent special edition of the Journal entitled ‘University Engineering Programs That Impact Communities:  Critical Analyses and Reflection‘.  We hope you enjoy this edition and find it useful.

To view this special issue of the Journal, please log on to  To assist your review, the manuscripts have been categorized as follows:

a.  National (Multi-University) Programs
b.  Ecosystems
c.  Programs and Curricular Efforts
d.  Topic-Focused Programs
e.  Course-Focused Programs

ProWalk ProBike ProPlace Conference Reflection

My name is Tessa Nasca and I am a Masters of Sustainability Studies student at Trent University. Through the Sustainability Studies program and the Trent Centre for Community Based Education, I will be engaging in a participatory urban planning project called Active Neighbourhoods Canada [ANC]. The ANC project (a part of CFICE Community Environmental Sustainability Hub) seeks to involve community members in reimaging their public spaces, namely streets and sidewalks, and envisions how we can better share this public space between pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle drivers. By giving the community ownership over processes of urban planning and community design, the ANC project hopes to demonstrate how streets and sidewalks can become vibrant and enlivened public spaces that encourage community members to choose active transportation.

As I undertake my research and engagement with the ANC project, it is important to a have strong understanding of best practices and current research in the active transportation field. Through the support of the CFICE Knowledge Mobilization Hub, I was able to attend the 2014 ProWalk, ProBike, ProPlace conference. ProWalk, ProBike, ProPlace is one of the largest international conferences in active transportation and urban placemaking, brining together nearly 1,500 professionals, academics, and community practitioners to discuss how we can build lively, healthy, and prosperous communities through the creation of viable active transportation systems.

While the ANC project was too early in its development for me to present on project results, my attendance at ProWalk, ProBike, ProPlace provided me with the opportunity to explore best practices and current research related to the ANC project. Presentations at the conference addressed a broad spectrum of elements necessary to build active transportation friendly communities, from technical design elements, policy and advocacy initiatives, evaluation and benchmarking, community engagement strategies, to citizen-led do-it-yourself urban interventions. My exposure to each of these elements will enable me to contribute more fully to the local ANC working group and to better support the project design, implementation, and evaluation phases.ConferenceInfographic-01

Although ProWalk ProBike ProPlace introduced me to a breadth of approaches to building active transportation friendly communities, the new concept that most excited me was the use of tactical urbanism in encouraging active transportation use. Tactical urbanism is an emergent trend in urban placemaking aimed towards creating short-term, inexpensive, and easily implementable interventions to temporarily transform public spaces. Examples of tactical urbanism projects could include: transforming parking spaces to parklets for a day, creating a pop-up bicycle lane, animating a street with a participatory art installation, or temporarily closing a residential street to create a play street. Tactical urbanism can be a powerful tool for community engagement because it involves projects that are accessible, flexible, and easily implementable. By giving community members the opportunity to temporarily shape their public spaces, tactical urbanism can inspire the community to imagine more vibrant public spaces, and to choose to work for more permanent change.

As the community working group meets to discuss the early stages of the ANC project, the idea of using tactical urbanism to engage community has already sparked an interest. We have discussed creating a series of play streets in the neighbourhood, engaging the arts community enlivening the public park, and creating pop-up cycling infrastructure along the neighborhood’s most heavily trafficked cycling corridor. I am hopeful that some of these short-term interventions will inspire the community to work towards more permanent changes to their community design.

Overall, the ideas and experience I gained through my participation in ProWalk ProBike ProPlace will provide added value to the local ANC project. My attendance at this conference exposed me the spectrum elements necessary in designing, building, and evaluating active transportation friendly communities, and this foundation has provided me with increased capacity to meaningfully engage with the ANC project.

Event: Book Launch of Brewster Kneen’s Journey of an Unrepentant Socialist

Brewster Kneen is well known as a leading analyst of the industrial food system in Canada and around the world. Brewster describes his book as his “political theological autobiography”, and he can be described not only as an unrepentant socialist but also as an active pacifist, a Christian “outside the walls”, and a genuinely original thinker. Come join Brewster Kneen and his family and friends for an evening of celebration for his new book, his journey of an unrepentant socialist.

Thursday, January 22 2015
Octopus Centretown2nd Floor, 251 Bank St.

Please download the pamphlet for more information.