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Reflections 22nd November

What’s on my mind

The power of stories and play.

It was triggered by listening to Yuval Harari talking about his latest version of Sapiens – a graphic novel version, and why he wrote it. In essence, one of the main reasons that we Sapiens won out over Neanderthals (who had many physical and cognitive advantages) was our ability to work together in large numbers, and the reason we can work together in large numbers is our ability to tell each other improbable stories, and make them come true. It’s a fascinating thought

It’s all very well us saying “show me the evidence”, but the evidence won’t motivate and engage like “tell me the story”. In a time of uncertainty such as we are in, we can either obsess with the evidence (which is going to be backwards looking, and often more threatening than inspiring) or we can weave stories, and then go after them.

This then is a time for stories. About what we see, and what we’re going to do. When we are bombarded with doom from those who profit by it, from advertising dependent media, or social media sources of dubious provenance, it’s down to us to craft our own stories.

I found this interview with Yuval Harari fascinating for the reasons behind his use of a graphic novel, and his take on stories.

HowTo Academy

What’s making me think

Learning Through Play. If we are going to harness the power of ambitious stories, then using the creative power of play is a natural ally. This ten minute read from the FS blog on how we can play with number, and the implications for wider creativity is a great read.

The company we keep. This HBR article suggests that graduates from elite universities outperform their peers from lower ranked ones – but not by much, and it’s changing. The top univiersities are not the automatic pass they used to be.

Business and Art. A wonderful short monologue from Steve Marshall of Ashridge Business School. Found in Alan Moore’s newsletter, which contains many other treasures. You can find it, and him, at Beautiful Business

A quote

“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.” – Blaise Pascal

Where I’m focusing

It is increasingly clear to me, as we watch large centralised organisations, from companies to Governments, flounder in the face of complexity that the change we want for ourselves will not come from them. It will come from us, working together in small commited groups, playing with ideas and developing our own propelling stories in pursuit of more than money.

I’ve put together a simple website as somewhere to focus.

Have a great week.

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