News & Content: ITA Take Aways

Exec Spin: The Power of Storytelling

Thursday, March 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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 Julia Kanouse, CEO, ITA


For too long companies have relied on just supplying numbers, data, statistics, analytics and so on to provide holistic insights and ideas for change. Presentations often take the form of a slide deck or PowerPoint presentations followed by a simple Q&A. These data-driven observations certainly have their place in imparting knowledge and understanding but too often leaders fallback on these methods alone to provide the big picture.


Even with today's technology and multimedia bells and whistles, the core takeaway for anyone in the audience is the story. Stories are embedded in our DNA. Tales, ancient traditions and fables have been passed down from many millennia ago until today. Stories are universal and connect us through shared experience with long-lasting lessons and immutable truths. 


Enduring news brands such as 60 Minutes and the ever-resurgent TED Talks revolve around the core storytelling concept. Across subject matter and industries these brands connect with audiences from all backgrounds across the globe. The power of storytelling is undeniable because at their core, stories are about connection and collaboration.


The best teachers and trainers are storytellers. Consequently, the best leaders are as well. Steve Jobs upon returning to Apple created the billion-dollar market innovator we know today by building it squarely on how technology weaves seamlessly into our lives. The core premise of Apple products from the iPod forward revolves around an interaction, a concept, a story. The simplicity of every product launch and event demonstrates this central tenet. Individuals who identify and develop a core story create authentic meaning for organizations, brands and causes et al.. This is a purpose that others can participate with, believe in and share.


Chicago business and tech leaders should take heed of this lesson in communicating and educating about their brand and focus. Too often we lean heavily on stats, facts and figures to demonstrate our passions and successes. We cite rankings and lists that indicate our placement and importance, but our industry revolves around innovation and telling new stories. How are our products and services changing the paradigm and reshaping trends? We speak so broadly about innovation but how are we genuinely affecting change within our industries and communicating our stories?


The lesson here is that numbers are only part of the story.  All types of people from businesses, investors and consumers are looking for genuine connections. Personal and professional narratives bring us together with common threads and hardships that we all face as we continue to build and shape the future of tech in Chicago and beyond. This spring, we are telling this story.


With the Second Annual Chicago Tech Summit just around the corner, we're working diligently to bring a slate of our most engaging and actionable content ever. After the feedback we received last year, we are taking this column's advice. Coursing through the program this year is the power of storytelling. The summit this year is intentionally crafted with these types of substantive observations in mind. The roster of trade veterans and leaders will deliver stories you can adapt, apply and activate across your technological endeavors.  Unlike previous summits which focused on specific technologies, innovations and processes, this year will focus on shared goals and obstacles. Through the power of storytelling, the summit will tackle technology trends that are impacting the local ecosystem and showcase how some of Chicago's best technology companies are conquering universal challenges. Check out the evolving agenda or better yet book your ticket here and be part of the story of what's next.

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