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Harvesting Values

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on October 1, 2010 at 9:42:07 am
 

 

 

 

What happens to the stories after they are shared?

 

 

  If our project goal is to build trust and a sense of belonging within our community, we may decide not to capture the stories or dig deeply into them

  for the messages they carry.  Telling and listening may be enough for the first wave of storytelling.

 

  If our goal is to put the stories to work for the community, to gather information from them and act upon that information, then we need to think about

  effective and respectful methods of harvesting the values/information they contain as well as methods for sharing, saving and archiving the stories.

 

 Harvesting Values

 

 Methods of value and detailed information harvest/gathering vary depending on the storytelling media, the number of people involved, and the goal of the 

 storytelling event.  If the purpose of the event is primarily to create an atmosphere of fun and to foster trust as you work towards creating bonds and bridges

 within communities, then you will probably want to do very little value harvesting the first time out.  Sometimes it is enough to let the stories be told, to be

 listened to and discussed.

 

 To harvest values in a one-one one interview, let the storyteller tell you what his/her story means. 

 

Here is a sheet for a teller and a listener to fill out together:

 

 Broad Themes.doc  The result can be discussed and then threaded into a more detailed chart such as the example below with the rays shooting out

 from the overall theme of "Friendliness."

 

 ManyEyes offers many data visualization options for free, some of which accept text as data, such as Wordle:

 

 Wordle, a simple, free online tool will create a word cloud from text, showing dominant themes.  It will not cluster related words, however,

 and so while it is arresting visually, and a superb first-level tool, it will not burrow down deeply into the values or provide comparison or show

 subtle relationships between values.

 

Examples:

 

 From Damariscotta's Community Conversations, a Story Circles Event:

After people shared stories in their small circles, they jotted down the themes and valuesthey heard in the stories, discussed them and then all groups fed their words into Wordle--

 

 

 

 

Victor, Idaho's Draft Workplan Pulled Into Wordle:

 

 

 

 

  To gather values in story circles, story listeners can be asked to jot down the values they heard in the stories shared around the circle. 

  Patterns, related values and "hot topics" can emerge as the participants discuss and cluster the values as the following image demonstrates:

 

 

 

 

 

   Teasing out the Detail--Moving Beyond the General Naming of a Value

 


 

 

 

  Initially groups might well identify overarching themes, such as in the above example.  But what does a general tern such as "friendliness" mean within this

  community, as revealed by the stories?     We encourage the group to remember details, to discover subthemes, and to see how this value might relate to

  or be in conflict with other values.  Arranging and clustering these drawings, seeing where the arms touch one another, value to value, can lead to important

  revelations about differences and common ground, or topics for meetings using other  Heart & Soul approaches including data, polling, discovery,

  CommunityViz, etc.

 

 

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