Storytelling: A tool for Communicating Vision

A while back I created this story to communicate our vision to the internal infrastructure team of the organisation I was with at the time.  It is written as a fairy tale complete with magic lamps and genies.

Many people thought it was lame, but I believe they understood the principles after reading this… and here it is:


Early one morning a man by the name of Walter Widget arrived in IT land. He had heard of the fabled efficiency of IT land as a place to do business, but so far it looked pretty ordinary.

That afternoon he decided to take a walk into the industrial district and pick a site for his new factory. As he walked down the street, he noticed that the street ended abruptly just as it reached the last factory. “that’s odd,” he thought, “They haven’t catered for growth at all” Suddenly some objects on the ground caught his eye. They were lying in the grass just beyond the end of the road. There were three old oil lamps, bronze, silver and gold. Being a wealthy businessman he decided to inspect the gold lamp. Inscribed on the side it said “IT land self-service infrastructure. Genie within. Rub lamp for Gold service”

Intrigued Walter rubbed the lamp, and lo and behold a genie came steaming out of the lamp to tower over the surprised businessman. “Hello, my name is Bert, and I’ll be you infrastructure Genie today, Your wish is my command! ” bellowed the genie. “How about a nice cup of tea?” said Walter, now in a bit of a state of shock. “Sorry said the Genie, I only do the infrastructure bits, you’ll have to consult the refreshment genie; He has a little cart and should be here around 3:30”

“Ok then” said Walter “How about a Widget Factory?”

“Not really sure what they’re like said the Genie, can you describe one”

“I have the plans right here” said Walter, beaming as he presented a complete set of Widget factory plans to Bert.

“Ah right!” said Bert. Suddenly there was a pop and Walter turned white, now in a full state of shock. Walter sat down on the bench that had appeared beside him in the suddenly-landscaped garden.

A complete factory had appeared, with the bit of street that extended up to the factory entrance, street lamps, parking bays and a huge lit sign in front that said “Walter’s wonderful widgets”

“Wait a minute!” said the Genie as he handed Walter the Itemized first-month’s bill, “Are you Walter of Walter’s Wonderful Widgets?”

“No” said Walter inspecting the bill, “That’s my father. I travel all over the world setting up the factories, but I’ve never seen anything like this! It normally takes months!”

Walter managed to stand and wobbled through the front door of the factory building. There was a huge teak reception desk, a thundering water feature, and soft music playing in the background. “Wow!” said Walter.

“Well you did request the Gold service” said Bert noting the expression on Walter’s face.,

As they went beyond the reception area, Walter saw that there was no machinery in the factory, but neatly arranged power outlets, benches and fittings where each machine should be, and an overhead fire-sprinkler system.

“What about the equipment?” he asked. “Ah” said Bert, “Sorry, I only do the Infrastructure bits, but the Solution Genie’s already have your plans and are hard at work putting together the equipment for your new factory. I’m sure they’ll be along shortly, oh and by the way, since you picked the Gold service, there is now an identical factory standing-by on the other side of town, should something happen to this one”

“Wow again! Was IT land always like this?” asked Walter, amazed.

“No”, said Bert. “About 5 years ago the king and his advisors declared that they were going to change the way things worked here. They sent notices of their intentions to all the Resorcering bureaus and the top wizards from all over started pouring in with the challenge of building a state-of the-art magical infrastructure. (Many of them lived right here in IT-land, but had stopped practicing real magic”) And the rest, as they say, is history. There are some challenges and as you saw some things just can’t be done with magic yet, but they’re working on it. Also we couldn’t do any of this if people owned their own land, because we have to maintain the underground magical conduiting to make this possible. That’s why your bill is for monthly service. If you decide to close your business, all this will simply disappear.

“Now I really need some tea” said Walter and set off back to his hotel. “What an amazing place” thought Walter as he walked. “I think I could enjoy living here” and he resolved right then to make IT Land the new headquarters for Walter’s wonderful widgets.


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2 Responses to Storytelling: A tool for Communicating Vision

  1. Very rapacious and pragmatic analogy. Will apply in my current EA environment…

  2. Paul Cartmel says:

    What are you living in CLOUD cuckoo land? 😉

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