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By Thomas Baekdal - March 2010

It’s Always About The Story

Companies are constantly trying to come up with something new and exciting, but most of the time they to tend to focus on the wrong thing. Instead of creating a story, they make a book. Instead of creating interesting articles, they created a printed magazine. Instead of making remarkable products, they design a new website.

The focus on a specific outcome as an object is never a very effective way to get ahead. Instead, you need to focus on the story, the emotion, the feeling and the experience.

Let me illustrate that in a very simple way...

Most people cannot draw comics. Or rather, most people think that they cannot draw comics. Because every time they try it, they always end up with the same old boring stickman.

If you ask somebody to draw a man, they start of with a line of the body, then add legs, and finally arms, and a round head - and voila, the same old boring stickman that we have seen a hundred times before.

But here is the thing. The problem with the stickman is not that it lacks detail, or even that it is made out of sticks. There is nothing wrong with the lines or the shapes.

The problem is that this stickman has no purpose. He doesn't ignite any emotion or recognition in your brain. He lacks a reason for existing.

To Illustrate this, let's give him a tennis racket:

Already, the dull and uninteresting character is starting to transform. Now your mind is thinking 'I wonder what he will do with that?' You have associations to sport, maybe personal experiences, and we have introduced life.

It is still the very same stickman, using the exact same lines.

So let's play:

While this is certainly not the most impressive works of art you have ever seen, it does illustrate a very important point.

If you just focus on creating the thing - you end up with a lifeless object similar to the standard stickman. But, when you drive your innovation based on the story, emotion, feeling, or the experience you want to create, then even a simple thing as a stickman can come to live.

Without a story, you just got a passive stickman. The problem that most companies have, are not that the their 'stickman' isn't beautiful enough, or that he lacks just the right kind of style. The problem is that their stickman doesn't know what he is supposed to be.

It's the story, either implicit, or explicit that creates results. So go out and create your story!

Notice: Another comic from - Sorry, we lost our common sense.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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