Home 2018-01-25T10:54:59+00:00


“Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate”

Today’s leaders suddenly find themselves under pressure to innovate. Trouble is, they never learned how.

Story Design bridges this gap, introducing tools and techniques that help leaders create everything from sneakers to strategy by channeling expertise they already have: narrative intelligence. This built-in problem-solving ability is today’s untapped superpower; it enables us to imagine new technologies, analyze experiences, predict customer behavior, map venture strategies–and much more.

In this practical playbook, Denise Withers draws on her thirty-five years of work as a filmmaker, consultant and academic to teach you how to use story design to:

– discover and develop new ideas

– create and test new kinds of solutions

– plan and lead innovation projects.

Narrative intelligence isn’t new. Neither is design. But no one has combined them before to reveal their hidden potential. Whether you produce services, strategies, products or experiences, Story Design can help you develop the creative capacity you need to get unstuck and innovate on demand.


What leaders say about Story Design –

“Finally. A fresh take on design-driven innovation that is simple, practical and human … because it is grounded in the “untapped superpower” we all share: Narrative Intelligence. Fusing domain expertise from the worlds of documentary storytelling and design science, Denise has produced a powerful yet pragmatic guide to solving even the most complex of problems, using an agile approach that keeps people front and center. Easy to read, full of helpful tools and illustrative anecdotes, this is a valuable resource for innovation practitioners, corporate strategists, change agents and any group or organization that is struggling with the challenge of turning its trajectory in a dynamic and uncertain environment.”

– Lara Lee, President, Orchard Supply Hardware (division of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.)

“Behind every great product is a great narrative. In the enjoyable and accessible Story Design, Denise Withers shows how stories work and how to use that knowledge to boost your business.”

– Jake Knapp, New York Times bestselling author of Sprint

“While the need for innovation in all areas of human endeavor is undisputed, the ‘how to’ of innovation still remains a mystery to most. Story Design provides a useful guidebook for the innovation process by tapping into the human ability to understand and create stories. The book uses familiar language and structures to lead you, the hero of the innovation story, from problem definition to resolution. Your innovation adventure awaits.”

– Anthony Wolf, Vice President Product Development and Innovation, Canadian Tire Corporation

“Story Design demonstrates that narrative–one of our oldest and most meaningful ways of communicating, of enlisting collaborators to solve problems–is as effective in the modern workplace as it was around the nomadic campfire. As I read, I could visualize ancient ancestors using similar processes to discover how to ignite the first fire, develop primitive tools and move from caves into built structures. Denise Withers provides a template for innovating by design and learning to articulate the problems that need to be solved, so that we can forge ahead with confidence in our methods–even when the outcome is uncertain.

– Whitney Johnson, Thinkers50, critically-acclaimed author of Disrupt Yourself

“Design is the current innovation buzzword in government and non-profit. But design is long, hard and often thankless and fruitless work—especially when you have zero resources. Story Design will help you develop and make the most of your innate ability to tell stories as innovation quests. Denise Withers shows you how to stay inspired and inspire others, with practical tools and tips to design for real change.

– Jerry Koh, Director of Systems Innovation & MaRS Solutions Lab, MaRS Discovery District