By : Cynthia La Grou

Story is not only the great connector, but studies show that empathic stories evoke compassionate action by stimulating mirror neurons which inspire and enable empathy. If indeed we are creatures of mimicry, mainstream news, the gaming and entertainment industry contributes heavily to a culture of perpetual physical and emotional violence.

Empathy created through storytelling is an engine for creating social change. Our collective psyche is suffering from a toxic onslaught of cataclysmic negative news - causing us to numb our senses or tune out - at a time when collective action is needed the most. We need the medicine that stories of hope, resilience and servant leadership brings. Stories of stability in the midst of systems collapse. Stories that inspire, educate, activate with solutions, as well as speak to power. Truly, imagination is the doorway to the Twenty-First Century. Narratives inspire action and transmit solutions, compassion and hope will offer the means of positive transition.

Storylab Objectives

● Research and share experience regarding best practices and highlight emerging models with solution oriented focus, providing resources to facilitate impact through media and digital storytelling.
● Collective data base combined resources.
● Convene media practitioners, experts, scientists, technologists, to discuss trends, lessons learned, and new models for engagement.
● Produces presentations, workshops, webinars, white papers, briefs.
● Emphasize empathic storytelling.
● Determine specific focus, themes, grants, projects, course of action
● Design content in the form of webinars, etc inviting leading thought leaders who are producing results in the digital storytelling landscape.
● Offer communities storytelling toolkits to help them tell their own stories.
● Design uptake processes via thematic assignments, contests, etc to locate best micro narratives emerging from communities.
● Pattern recognition - determine over arching, macro narratives

The mining and weaving of micro narratives can offer insights to macro narratives for books, educational film docs, micro docs, web tv series, and journalistic or photo collections. Overarching narrative design and creative direction are critical for cohesive cross-platform branding in terms of look, feel and intended social or philanthropic outcomes. Compathos data base of producers has experience in e-learning, film, web tv series, game mechanics, and socially immersive storytelling. Networked storytelling: How can memetic story structures be thematically connected as well as distributed through multiple ecosystems - our collective bloodstream? Social media and public relations teams are key to distribute content through appropriate channels, engagement strategists to activate incentives, and foundations key to funding the incentives.

Optional Topics to Explore

● The art of information architecture, discovering the story in data
● Game architecture for non-game contexts, such as business, education, and social impact challenges
● New educational models, via project based, connected / networked learning structures
● Interactive/ Immersive narratives- transitioning from audience to participant, consumer to empowered citizen. Research on barriers to individual and cultural engagement.
● Story Engines. Story driven systems thinking, building living interactive story worlds and networks to scale
● Interactive narrative styles, empathic, heart based community driven digital storytelling
● Cause related transmedia, cause marketing
● Transforming our personal, collective, cultural and cosmic archetypes
● Adaptive design, biomimicry or nature's geometry informing interactive, immersive, cultural landscapes
● Measuring impact, creating cultural capital
● Navigating the future: information deluge, tech disruption, blended realities, human machine age, awakening consciousness, human identity through story
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