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    Using Fiction to Motivate Change

    Lance Kind
    Lance Kind
    schedule 2 years ago
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    45 mins

    Since the late nineties, the Agile books in the non-fiction aisle have steadily increased in number. It's common to see a book or three about Agile on a colleague's desk. It's also common to see such a book look practically new, the book spin showing no sign of having been opened. Non-fiction books are great at providing bullet points of things to do and reasons why. But non-fiction books are poor at:

    • inspiring,
    • creating emotional attachement (so the reader finishes the book), 
    • creating a full sensory environment for the reader,
    • describing a holostic environment, or
    • 'intriguing' a reader who is un-interested in the topic. 

    (This bullet list above is a good example of how non-fiction can excite thoughts who already know the story behind the bullets, but doesn't inspire much if the reader hasn't any context or background.)

    Fiction is well positioned to do the above because its number one job is to give pleasure and entertainment.  It can't be successful if it can't do this. The oral tradition of fiction has been part of human culture for millions of years, since a Cro-Magnon passed on a story to another, and upon re-telling some details were forgotten and the storyteller had to make them up.  Fiction is in fact is the most successful format for culture change as this is the format of the world's religious works and is responsible for guiding or changing the behaviors of billions of people.  The CIA and the Pentagon use fiction to develop scenarios which are used to create simulations to test preparedness.

    What force could be stronger than fiction for giving an individual the courage to initiate an organizational change in the face of uncertain co-workers and often antagonistic corporate environment?  What tester, developer, PM, director could not use the courage of knowing a "David verses the Goliath," "Legend of the IpMan," or "V for Vendetta" to not only understand the bullet points, but to have the stedfast to sustain in the face of resistance because they believe in the change as if they've lived that life, due to reading stories which placed them in one or many virtual versions of that world.

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