“Story Design” Closes Innovation Gap – New book uses narrative intelligence to boost small business innovation capacity.

Tags: Books & Authors, Business, Education

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada / TheNewswire / January 2018 – Small business owners like Karin Mizgala of Money Coaches Canada finally have an accessible and affordable way to develop innovation capacity and culture across their organizations, thanks to Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate. The new book by award-winning filmmaker and designer Denise Withers teaches first-time innovators how to create everything from sneakers to strategy by channeling expertise they already have: narrative intelligence.

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Across North America, 9.7 million small and medium size enterprises (SME’s) operate under constant pressure to innovate. Yet, few of their workers have the creative and design skills needed to do this work. That puts companies like Money Coaches Canada in a tough spot, as paying for innovation experts and training can be expensive. Story Design aims to bridge this skills gap.

"Our natural ability to design the future through story is today’s untapped superpower. We already use narrative intelligence every day to imagine new technologies, analyze experiences, predict customer behavior, map venture strategies-and much more," says Withers. In her book, she draws on her thirty-five years of work in the creative industries to teach readers how to use story design to: discover and develop new ideas; create and test new kinds of solutions, and; plan and lead innovation projects. "Most existing supports for innovation focus on start-ups and the tech sector. Few serve small and medium-sized organizations, which make up 97% of businesses in Canada and 99% in the USA. Those are the companies I want to help."

Story Design is already earning high praise from leaders across the continent. When asked for her take on the book, Lara Lee, President, Orchard Supply Hardware (division of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.), wrote: "Denise has produced a powerful yet pragmatic guide to solving even the most complex of problems, using an agile approach that keeps people front and center. Easy to read, full of helpful tools and illustrative anecdotes, this is a valuable resource for innovation practitioners, corporate strategists, change agents and any group or organization that is struggling to change its trajectory in a dynamic and uncertain environment."

Narrative intelligence isn’t new. Neither is design. But no one has combined them before to reveal their hidden potential. As they work to create change in the turbulent financial industry, Mizgala and her colleagues hope that new approaches like story design will give them the innovation edge they need to continue their market leadership in advice-only financial planning and money coaching.


Denise Withers launched her story career thirty-five years ago as a white-water filmmaker, then spent the next twenty years writing and directing documentaries for Discovery Channel. Ninety stories, eight awards and five continents later, she left the media to earn a Master of Science in design and start a story studio. Since then, Denise has used story design to lead innovation for industry, government, academia and non-profit clients across the Americas.

Story Design contact:

Denise Withers, MSc




Access book excerpts




Money Coaches Canada contact:

Karin Mizgala, MBA CFP(R)






Government of Canada: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/h_03018.html

US Census: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2014/econ/susb/2014-susb-annual.html


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