Egypt FlagInnovation = Regenerating Knowledge | Integral Innovations

Integral Storytelling
as a Tool for Organisational Change
by Laurence Kaufmann and the Sekem Social Innovation Team

Laurence Kaufmann, Junior Fellow of Trans4m, focused on strengthening Sekem’s organisational culture and knowledge management, leading to the co-creation and implementation of the “Integral Storyteller’s Model” in Sekem.

Calling: Contributing to the Cultural Renewal of Sekem in Egypt

Sekem, an integral partner organisation of Trans4m, is a cultural initiative with the aim of sustainable development in Egypt. Due to its astonishing success story and tightly knitted core community, it managed to overcome many obstacles and inspire the world. After forty years, Sekem is facing several specific challenges to its organisational culture and knowledge management, blocking the inspirational flow from within. The aim of this project was to articulate these issues and find a possible tool for the renewal of Sekem’s organisational culture and knowledge management. It resulted in the co-creation of the Integral Storyteller’s Model, which in its implementation was specifically applied to Sekem, but can also constitute a powerful tool to be used on all levels of society.

Innovation Ecosystem: Multiple Stakeholders

This research-to-innovation project, lead by Trans4m Junior Fellow Laurence Kaufmann, would not have been possible without a supportive innovation ecosystem. The idea was first born out of a PhD workshop held on Sekem grounds. Maximilian Abouleish – Chief Sustainable Development Officer of Sekem and one of the PhD candidates – strongly supported and facilitated the research process, as did the whole Abouleish family. Additionally, the assistance of many core community-members and employees was fundamental in order to understand Sekem’s history, cultural background and challenges. Throughout the research process, Trans4m was present and supportive. After the co-creation of the Integral Storyteller’s Model, Sekem employees volunteered to join the pilot project, forming two storytelling groups.

Integral Innovation: Towards the Integral Storyteller Model

The Integral Storyteller’s Model was built on Trans4m’s Integral Development Model by Alexander Schieffer and Ronnie Lessem. It includes the four realms of Relationship, Inspiration, Knowledge and Action, showing that storytelling is by nature an integral tool. Storytelling builds and strengthens communities, empowers and inspires, creates and multiplies knowledge and naturally induces action towards change. As an integral tool, storytelling always starts with the individual, building up to higher levels such as audience, organisation, society and the world. The Integral Storyteller’s model creates a tool for organisations everywhere in the world to work with all four realms of development.

Integral Storyteller Model
Integral Storyteller Model

Integral Impact: Storytelling as a Potent Tool for Individual and Organisational Change

The Integral Storyteller’s model was first implemented as a pilot project in Sekem in late 2013. The effect on the individual participants was considerable and in some cases life-changing. On ending the project, it was handed over to Maximilian Abouleish and the entire innovation ecosystem, including specific recommendations to improve the process. For the Integral Storyteller’s model to realise its potential, it needs to have a local champion furthering its impact and reach. Most recently, the use of the Integral Storyteller’s model has been discussed by a consulting group hired by Sekem.

Due to its integral nature and flexibility, the Storytelling tool can be used throughout the world and in all types of organisations.

The weekly Sekem Circle: A powerful symbol of the inspiring story of Sekem - circular like the Integral Storyteller model
The weekly Sekem Circle: A powerful symbol of the inspiring story of Sekem – circular like the Integral Storyteller model