The University of Chicago serves as the national program office for Bridging the Gap, a Merck Foundation initiative that brings together the health care sector with other sectors to promote improvements in diabetes care. The university supports the national program efforts of the grantee organizations, providing leadership in building the public/private partnership. The program directors contacted the Center when they wanted to develop a video storytelling project that could be used to demonstrate the impacts of the grant. The national team recognized the need to first train grantees how to tell better their stories before they could begin the video project and contacted the Center for our expertise.
What We Did:
The Center conducted a pre-survey to help identify the training needs of the grantees and used the survey insights to refine the training session.
Across multiple disciplines, research tells us that the most effective way to influence belief and behavior change is to adopt a storytelling approach to strategic communication. Many organizations believe they are telling stories or believe that leading with data will change minds and behaviors. But often, these are simply messages or vignettes, and are about the organization, not the mission, and can feed into a master narrative that people are either tired of hearing or that is doing more harm than good.
We conducted a one-day, story building workshop, which we customized to feature examples from the health care industry to best resonate with their work.
Results of a post-workshop evaluation showed participants had a much better understanding of how to build stories that resonated with their specific communities. Coaches worked one-on-one with grantees in the months following the workshop, helping them define and refine their stories for the video projects.
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