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What “Say Yes to the Dress” Teaches Us about Creativity

By Jean Storlie / June 2, 2014 /

  When my daughter, Jayme, was 12-years-old, one of her favorite shows was “Say Yes to the Dress.” My first reaction was total dismay that they actually made an entire TV series about shopping for wedding dresses. But once she started recording the episodes on our DVR, I figured rather than dismiss it, I should…

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How Will the Animals Read? Watch Out for Communication Blind Spots

By Jean Storlie / May 1, 2014 /

One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, my husband was helping her get ready for a Brownie Field Trip to the Humane Society. After signing the Permission Slip, he was ticking through the checklist of gear she needed, including old newspapers for animal bedding. I was upstairs on the landing supervising our…

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Don’t Rake in a Blizzard: Problem Solving through Social Networks

By Jean Storlie / March 3, 2014 /

One afternoon in early January, my daughters wanted to bake cookies and discovered that our cookie sheets were missing from the drawer where we store them. We searched high and low in all the spaces where cookie sheets could possibly fit. We wracked our brains and had many conversations about what could have happened to…

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Picture Perfect: Overcoming Innovation Pitfalls

By Jean Storlie / February 1, 2014 /

Back in the 70s, my parents received a coupon for a family portrait sitting and decided to herd the seven of us down to Ellickson’s, the local portrait studio. I remember being in college struggling to find something other than jeans to wear. Even though we weren’t given any guidelines, I showed up in a…

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Wallflower or Dancer? Three Common Barriers to Personal Storytelling

By Jean Storlie / December 10, 2013 /

During a networking breakfast, Maggie shared a story that had me transfixed: I vividly imagined her epiphany moment when she sat at her corporate desk in a large technology company at 8:30 one night and realized that she needed to leave her career in Information Technology. While searching internal job postings, she decided to roll…

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Secret Decoder Ring: Solving the Mystery of Social Tribes

By Jean Storlie / November 5, 2013 /

About a year after I joined General Mills in 1999, I was talking to a friend about how I still felt like an outsider. She said, “Jean, that’s because no one gave you the ‘secret decoder ring’ to help you understand the company’s culture.” At the time, I felt like she read my mind and…

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Watermelon Grudge: Your Customer is the Hero of Your Brand Story

By Jean Storlie / October 17, 2013 /

During the time when my mother was juggling life as a 50s housewife and mother of three pre-school kids in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she spotted an ad in the paper for 50¢ watermelons. Since they only had one car, she rushed out one noon hour when my dad was home for lunch to take advantage…

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Truth Wrapped in Story: Beware of the Evil Villain

By Jean Storlie / October 1, 2013 /

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every home in the village. Her nakedness frightened people. When Parable found her she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable took her home, dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again. Clothed in story, Truth knocked…

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From the Inside Out: A Story-bite about Neutralizing Adversaries

By Jean Storlie / September 17, 2013 /

When I was in graduate school, I worked as the Nutrition Coordinator for an Adult Fitness/Cardiac Rehab program associated with the university I attended. It was a fairly new position in the organization without a lot of structure and process in place. Bright-eyed, naïve, and optimistic, I brought forward a lot of new ideas to…

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Are You a Duck or an Eagle?

By Jean Storlie / August 26, 2013 /

Emerging from the airport to stand in the cab line, Harvey was shaking the travel cobwebs from his brain and looked up to see a bright, shiny taxi. The cab driver jumped out and said, “Hi, I’m Wally. While I load your luggage, I invite you to read my mission statement.” Wally handed him a…

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