“As much as you have a wonderful product or service for your customers, craft a narrative to go with it. There’s power in a story.”
It is the last week of the first month of 2021. If I am to give you a suggestion of what needs to have happened, it would be that you have at least identified one or two things to pursue throughout the year. If not, then you had better get into it in this last week, so as not to recount your year in tears in the long run. For those who have had the chance to set out and align their priority projects, initiatives or goals for the year, it is time to focus on them and make it emotive. This is only possible with a story about why it matters to you, why it should matter to others and what you intend to do about it, for which having others join you on the journey would be of value. This is the second phase in your development and launch into realizing your mission.
Last week on Friday, I had my final meeting for the week with a client for a cold chain project we are to deploy in the near future to aid in the last mile delivery of vaccines. Everybody knows the essence of refrigeration of vaccines but as always we take it for granted as all we do is take children to clinics and find the nurse ready with the vials in the right condition so we just get our jab and walk away. Do you ever think about the challenges others face in accessing such? Alternatively, for those who know the health centers and dispensaries where they seek care do not have refrigerators, how do these nurses ensure they will have the required vaccines every morning? If you can think of it in this line and imagine what happens where the options do not exist, you are better positioned to develop a solution touching on a need that we all want to get addressed. This should be your approach provided it is based on facts, novel approaches and focused on bringing forth an intervention. There are those of us who do not do much to challenge the prevailing narrative and instead work on justifying that narrative. Unfortunately, this happens to be misleading especially in the African context.
I have had a couple of requests to be enjoined in some projects over time. Some are worthy, but looking at the expected outcomes, I have been forced to turn them down. I do not believe in doing anything for the sake of doing it. The question for me is always on what narrative am I creating and how it will augment or set stage for a new narrative or norm. If you want me to execute a project with you portraying poverty, suffering and underdevelopment in Africa then you better give me a follow up plan on how this is going to make a difference in the lives of the very Africans. If that does not come out then I will say pass because this is how we foster stereotypical narratives and perpetuate a culture of dependence without looking for actual solutions.
Craft a narrative that helps you achieve your goals and once you do, preach it everywhere you go. Let it colonize the minds of those you come across. If you can convert a couple of people to join your band, you are already on your way to realize your goal. Importantly, ensure that narrative helps you make a difference and touch the lives of others in the journey even if it is your own. I remember in a previous post I wrote about storytelling and the importance of controlling your story. It is critical for the story to be futuristic, hopeful and compelling for it to build a movement around it. It is what corporations like Apple did and made fortunes from.