I help people turn stories into power. 

When you cut through all the marketing hype, one thing becomes clear – story is power. We all know this. Yet few of us use it in our work - mostly because we don’t know how, when or where to tap into  it. My job is to change that.

At a high level, I design strategic stories for leaders to make change easier. I also teach people how to design their own stories, through workshops and 1:1 coaching. By drawing on my 35 years of experience as an award-winning filmmaker and strategist, I’ve helped over 100 clients use story design to launch new ventures, transform programs, shift policy, engage stakeholders and accelerate innovation. Most recently, I put these skills to work to help a global ocean conservation agency go from start-up to superpower, doubling its size, reach and impact in less than a year.

I launched my story career in the 1980's as a white-water filmmaker. After getting my feet thoroughly wet, I landed my first television gig – then spent the next twenty years writing and directing documentaries for Discovery Channel. Ninety stories, eight awards and five continents later, the blight of reality TV decimated the doc market, inspiring a career pivot.

I left the media and I returned to school to earn a Master of Science in engagement design and a Certificate in Adult Education. In 2010, I joined the b-school at UBC, where I co-founded Canada's first studio for strategic design. As the global demand for design services grew, I discovered new ways to combine storytelling and design thinking into an innovation framework called 'story design', and eventually returned to private practice to develop my own tools and techniques.

Since then, I've started 3 innovation labs, and led dozens of sprints and workshops for clients across sectors. As an academic, I've researched and taught story and design at major institutions across Canada. I've also written for multiple publications, including the online Stanford Social Innovation Review, and recently published a how-to book on my work, "Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate" https://www.amazon.ca/Story-Design-Creative-Way-Innovate/dp/1775055906/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513797164&sr=8-1&keywords=denise+withers

Find out more: http://denisewithers.com

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  • First access to site
    Friday, 9 April 2010, 1:45 PM  (10 years 54 days)
  • Last access to site
    Monday, 25 November 2019, 9:21 AM  (187 days 23 hours)