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And because of my resolution to begin 2020 with a “Seven Day Mental Diet” of positive thinking and action, Impact Hub Zurich (IHZ) approved my hosting weekly “Story Doctor” office hours. Starting in February, content creators can apply for short impactful F2F consultation with local Story Advisor, Joel Blom – and get actionable advice on how to structure their content (text/audio/video) in narrative form. 

On another unseasonably mild winter night, I found myself getting agitated in the audience of IHZ’s December 2019 town hall meeting where members and employees present the year’s highlights. And there was no shortage of high points to crow about. Growing membership, startups launched, new funding, climathon hacking, circular economy incubator, and and and.

But as the evening progressed with one success “story” followed by the next, the more irritated I became. By the end of the night, I was so worked up I knew I had to do something or risk carrying a resentment into the new year – which is about as useful as taking your romantic partner to a speed-dating event – just don’t.
The source of my disgruntlement? All night long, every presenter was introduced as “our next story is …” But none of them told any stories! Each of the year’s achievements only had a positive outcome. No missteps, no failures, not one negative turning point was every mentioned. 

As our primal brain instinctively knows: ‘no conflict – no story.” Because a story is about transformation. If nothing changes from beginning to end, it’s an inventory of facts – not a story. What really bugged me was the showcased content was outstanding and deserved better. After all, IHZ’s own blog header says, “… In a community like ours, stories are our most powerful and inspirational tool.” 

A few weeks later I was invited to lunch with IHZ Managing Director, Thomas Patzko. It was my 4th day of “Mental Dieting,” so instead filling his ear with my criticisms, I used the occasion to nip a potential resentment in the bud before it could do any harm. Admitting my disagreement with people’s notions of storytelling are of no use to anyone, I volunteered my narrative know-how to Hub staff and members.

Thomas liked the motive and after some brainstorming, suggested an office hour format he uses for matching qualified entrepreneurs with Google engineers. He explained, “qualified means participants must bring a specific problem material to the expert’s field.” He added, “They’re someone actually building or running a startup to make the Google volunteers time have an impact.”

So thanks to Thomas and Community & Ecosystem Builder, Karin Stephan, content creators now have direct access to weekly Story Doctor office hours.
Apply online using this form.

Leaders with skin in the game can leverage Joel’s experience advising/authoring story content for organizations like digitalswiterland, SME’s like Spitch AG, startups like Stairlin AG, blogs like and publicly listed companies like Peach Property Group AG.

Joel’s popular storyteller meetups, workshops and C-Level advisory advocate use of  narrative tools to craft brief yet inspiring stories. He believes all good stories express one grand truth… How and why life changes! Facts are what is. Truth is how and why what is is! As a story expresses its hows and whys of change, A listener’s mind fills with understanding. As a story’s events change a character’s life, positive to negative or vice versa, listener’s emotions ignite. 

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