Who Is Telling The Best Product, Brand, and Experience Stories? by Donna Lichaw

Whenever I speak, teach workshops or deliver trainings, or write about about using a story-first approach to craft intended customer experiences with products, services, and brands, I get great follow up reports and questions from attendees. Usually, they are trying the approach out in their own practice and have questions about how to refine their process. Or they have a case study or example that they want to share. Sometimes they want more examples of the type of story-engineering I advocate. Sometimes all of the above. As I was replying to one such email today, I decided that my reply was too good to share with just one person. Good because I absolutely love the two examples that I list...

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What? Another Book About Stories? by Donna Lichaw

Yes! And No.

Yes! I'm writing a book for Rosenfeld Media. No, it's probably not what you think.

I talk about stories. A lot. I use stories and their underlying structure as a way to make sense of complex problems. I also use them to envision, plan for, and build products and services that are not only usable, but that people want to use and enjoy using. And for the last couple of years, I’ve been teaching others how to do the same. These are people, like you, who want better tools to do better work so that they can better engage an audience and build things that are, not just engaging, but successful. The thing about all of this teaching and working is that it’s exhausting. And, it’s all one big cliffhanger...

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Why "Breaking" Experiences Makes Them Better by Donna Lichaw

TV shows engage an audience. At least the good ones do. Every once in a while, a *great* show like Breaking Bad comes out and *really* engages an audience. Within an episode, over the course of a season, and over many years.

Engagement is something that many of us in the digital, tech, product, software, service, non-digital, even ...shudder...marketing world are often tasked with. I talk and write about this often – I think we have a lot to learn from television writing and how they envision, plan, and execute stories over time for maximum engagement. Only instead of our products being stories like a TV show, the way our audience experiences them is the story. There is a lot of history and science to back this up, all of which I plan to expand upon in the next year, fear not. What I have found working in a multitude of contexts, projects, industries, and teams is that we can and *should* be plotting intended experiences of use with the things we create as if they incredible stories. While I call this literal act of mapping out stories “storymapping,” fiction writers like John Gardner call it “plotting.” Vince Gilligan, co-creater of Breaking Bad and former writer for The X-Files, however, calls it “breaking.” But what exactly is "breaking" and how does it work?

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Starship Narratives and the Creative Process by Donna Lichaw

I started teaching at Parsons School of Design again. It's been 5 long years since I taught there. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I stepped into the classroom and started chatting with students whose portfolios are already blowing my mind. This semester, I am teaching a studio class on the future of mobile technology and design. It's going to be awesome. New Yorkers Josh Clark and Liza Kindred will be stopping by to talk about connected devices and fashion technology. Abi Jones will be Googling in from Mountain View to chat about gesture-based interfaces and non-screen-based-UIs. And because the subject is mobile, I've already kicked the students out onto the sidewalk to start pounding some pavement. It's going to be a blast.

The thing about future technologies, however...

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Better Products Through Storytelling by Donna Lichaw

This month, I was featured on two wonderful podcasts hosted by two wonderful people. In each, we delve into narrative design and using storytelling techniques to create better products.

Here's an excerpt from Dann Berg's podcast:

"My favorite part is when she applies the narrative arc to an app I’m working on, and we get to see the entire process in action." 


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