Last week we were as representant of our customer SeniorLab (www.citilab.eu) in Nuremberg at the closing of the EU project HIStory on the use of life stories of older people: Computerclub http://www.history-project.eu/ invited by the CCN 50 plus: http://www .ccn50plus.de/ccn2006/index.php
In addition to collecting stories of hundreds of Europeans, that help understand the “intra-history” of the twentieth century, there was an interesting discussion on applications of the “storytelling” (the methodology used in the project).
ValueCreation has used stoytelling in knowledge management projects. Veteran employees can transmit their knowledge better than in complex IT systems and trainings, just by doing what Germans call “Überlieferung” (the classical oral transmission of culture from olders to youngers) In this way we saved money, time and produced a rapid identification of knowledge assets.
Other participants described how energy companies with important experience in the hands of engineers close to retirement employ storytelling to create a kind of mentoring for younger employees. This would not only save the company’s knowledge capital, but generate productivity increases, since it introduces a challenging and motivating activity for close to retirement employees.
Another interesting use application of narratives was found in the care of dependent elderly in nursing homes. How can caregivers produce empathy if they do not know basic facts about the biography of dependent elders? Many people have experienced violent situations, stress or simply medical interventions that are important. This knowledge changes the way caregivers approach to dependents, talk to them, wash them and in general communicate.
Heilig Geist Spital in Nürnberg: Computerclub 50 plus Headquarters, home of the elderly and sheltered flats center
In short, life histories are a valuable tool in many areas of business enterprise and social organization. A tool that we at ValueCreation explore and apply continuously.