March 2016 Seminar: Storytelling For Problem Solving & Better Decision Making


A story is a recounting of events based on emotional experience from a perspective.
We use stories to:

• build maps of the world we experience so we can make decisions about how to act;
• make decisions about what to believe in, what we see and hear;
• transfer knowledge and information;
• playfully simulate possible outcomes before we commit to a course of action;
• condense experience into packages that re-expand in the minds of listeners.

Stories engage our attention, influence our beliefs or actions, and provide a “partial suspension of the rules of the real” that helps us safely explore the future. Participatory Narrative Inquiry (PNI) is an approach in which groups of people participate in gathering and working with raw stories of personal experience in order to make sense of complex situations for better decision making.

Ron Donaldson, an expert practitioner in the art and science of storytelling techniques, facilitated a highly interactive and engaging workshop demonstrating the use of PNI in exploring a topical issue relevant to knowledge and information sharing. Delegates obtained new insights into the topic, as well as practical experience in how to apply storytelling techniques to issues and problems they face in their own organisations.


Ron Donaldson is a knowledge ecologist and facilitator, experienced in applying Participatory Narrative Inquiry (PNI), Cognitive Edge ideas around complex systems and TRIZ, the Russian Inventive Problem-Solving methods.

Taking an ecological perspective means that you focus at the community level and catalyse the flow of meaning, knowledge and realisation of insights within a narrative landscape. The sharing of knowledge in an organisation is much more analogous to an ecology that needs to be nurtured than a precisely defined machine that can be managed. Ron is particularly fond of the idea that Ecology has at times been called the ‘subversive science’, since it subverts our egocentric insistence on separateness, and with it, our inclination to ride roughshod over the rest of the natural world.

Time and Venue

2pm on Tuesday 22nd March 2016, The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS

Pre Event Information

Learning Objectives:
• To understand how to create the starting conditions for new relationships and collaboration
• To understand how to remove constraints and disrupt linear thinking, to allow an anticipatory awareness of the present to emerge
• To know how to seed, trigger and encourage creative thinking and to experience storytelling as a way to share knowledge and ideas


Not available.




See our blog report: Storytelling for Problem Solving and Better Decision Making

Study Suggestions

Ron Donaldson’s website is and his Twitter account: To find out more about PNI see

See also Past Event Information September 2020 where Ron discussed his involvement with TRIZ