Never underestimate the power of a good story. If you’re driving innovation initiatives at your company, or want to promote a culture of innovation with your people, the story you tell is critical to your success.

Indeed, a good story can mean the difference between a failed idea or massive market disruption. Good stories bring something new or add value to an existing topic. They connect with people. Most of all, they bring out emotion.

According to a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, Telling a Good Innovation Story, “Appealing to people’s emotions helps new ideas cut through the clutter.”

The McKinsey piece takes in an interesting look at how executives trying to bring about major change can use a range of ‘storylines’ to not only inform people, but to make them believers. The authors turn traditional terms like “fast follower” and “self-cannibalization” upside down, and provide ‘real-world’ examples of the storylines in action and tips for success, including:

  1. Best Beats First — It’s all about being different, taking on an existing market leader with something better. Highlight what you do that’s unique to leapfrog the competition.
  2. Master of Reinvention — Emphasize your ability to adapt and change in order to keep your business thriving. Focus on the future and what you’re doing, as well as how existing products fit (or don’t fit) into your plan.
  3. Serendipitous Discovery — Breakthroughs rarely happen by accident. You need be smart enough to see future potential and take action upon it. Show where your Vision comes from, and how you plan to deliver on it.
  4. If at First You Don’t Succeed — Perspiration, perseverance and progress are the elements of this storyline. Show how they payoff. Example: James Dyson perfected his bagless vacuum after 5,127 tries.
  5. The Unreasonable Person — This storyline features the defiant ones. The people challenging the status quo and daring to be different. If you’re out to change the world, this is the storyline for you.
  6. The Winds of Change — It’s not just about being in the right place at the right time. The ability to see a confluence of trends and capitalize on it before anyone else does is the foundation for this storyline, providing a platform for telling BIG stories.

You can learn more by reading the complete McKinsey article here.

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