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Pointer to the future: the role of storytelling

How storytelling drives innovation and strategic development

Some inside news from StrategyStory! We’ve just completed a year-long partnership with the pioneering security firm Pointer Ltd. It’s been an exciting year, and a privilege to work with such a talented group of people who we know we will keep in touch with for a long time to come.

But what did we do?! With some help from our brilliant Pointer colleagues, here’s a quick glimpse to explain just what goes on in a StrategyStory partnership…and why storytelling is so important to strategy development.

What happened?

We worked with Pointer to evolve their strategy – and their story – through the innovative and award-winning StrategyStory method that puts peoples’ stories at the heart of strategy development.

“It’s all about getting out to see different people, to talk to different people and find out different opinions on how the business works.”
Ben Hopper, Senior Engineer, Pointer Ltd

We had a quick catch-up with the Pointer team on Teams at the end of the project: you can watch some of their highlights here and find out more about why Pointer embraced our method:

In our approach to strategic management and transformation, stories that people share about what is actually happening drive real-time innovation by spreading and amplifying what works, whilst dampening down or correcting what hasn’t. 

It gave me a better understanding of other parts of the businesses and the challenges that we face. I got to meet people that I’d maybe speak to but had never seen. It opened up new relationships so we can share ideas with each other and try and come up with better solutions.”
Gillian MacAulay, Installation and Project support, Pointer Ltd

Pointer Engineer Ben Hopper interviewing Gillian McAulay, Installation and Project support
Bringing people together to share stories: Pointer Engineer Ben Hopper interviewing Gillian McAulay, Installation and Project support

StrategyStory partnerships take different shapes and sizes depending on the company involved. With Pointer, we created both a Strategy team and a Story team who had different functions but worked very closely together.

“The Story team starts in investigative journalism mode and goes out and ask colleagues questions. Then the feedback that came in led what happened with the Strategy team. And it was great seeing their reaction to what we’ve gathered.

 And it was a positive reaction, no matter what was said – even if it wasn’t particularly good – because of the way it was relayed back to them. I think that was quite smart. The way it’s all done in that sort of way. It was a light way to show people: “Look, this needs improved, or this needs to change”.
Samantha Borland, Marketing Co-ordinator, Pointer Ltd


Why is the storytelling aspect so important?

Pointer really is a company that puts its people at the heart of progress and change, which is why our approach appealed to them so much.

“Storytelling is the opportunity for everyone to tell us the good and the bad. And for us to accept that. It’s not perfect. But if we know about it as a team, then there are solutions. A lot of this comes down to working across areas of the business, and not being stuck in vertical silos because the solutions often sit next door, but if no one knows about it, nothing can be done about it.”

Sandy Rowan, Director, Pointer


Pointer's StrategyStory team in conversation with Pointer Director, Sandy Rowan
Pointer’s StrategyStory team in conversation with Pointer Director, Sandy Rowan

Communication, communication, communication!

Digital storytelling is at the centre of the StrategyStory process, so that:
A. we can gather really important information
B. teams learn how to communicate in an innovative and modern way and
C. we use our simplified strategic logic to focus on stories that will deliver lasting impact

“The best part of it for me was learning the ins and outs of content development, collecting editing audio and collecting video footage, because it’s something that I can use in my role in marketing, and it’s a skill that I wasn’t really very good at before.

 There were also things that I didn’t think I’d get from it – like the interviewing skills training. That went above my expectations, because I didn’t think there was a lot to learn there..but there is.”

Sam Borland, Marketing Co-ordinator, Pointer Ltd

“StrategyStory is a good way of finding out people’s thoughts, feelings, and what works within the company. It’s a neat and really interesting way of doing it. And then, once you’ve gathered that information, using the storytelling process to push that information back out in the form of audio and video. It’s definitely been a great, modern idea of finding out information, and then distributing back out to colleagues as well.”

Ben Hopper, Senior Engineer, Pointer Ltd

StrategyStory's Kate Hooper delivering training to Pointer Ltd in storytelling, interview skills and audio recording
StrategyStory’s Kate Hooper delivering training to Pointer Ltd in storytelling, interview skills and audio recording


Why are new approaches to strategy needed?

StrategyStory works to the mantra that strategy isn’t just something that you’ve got…it’s something that you do!

Traditional, top down approaches that create documents and strategic devices like ‘strategy statements’, ‘vision’ and ‘mission statements’ are simply not enough to deliver strategies that work. Folk need to be involved, empowered and considered if they are going to take a strategy forward – not surprised by a fait accompli created in a boardroom (or vacuum) somewhere. That does not make for a happy workforce – or happy strategies!

“StrategyStory is a professional and inspiring process that will capture the important work-life stories of staff in a relaxed and open fashion. The approach and delivery is something that I really enjoyed and one that will stay with me as a way of engaging with colleagues in ensuring that ideas and opinions are valued and understood.”

Nigel Upson, Utilities Service Delivery Manager, Pointer Ltd

Nigel Upson and Gillian MacAulay from Pointer using audio recording equipment
Nigel Upson and Gillian McAulay from Pointer’s StrategyStory team preparing for interviews

A final word from StrategyStory

The world is changing rapidly and organisations need to be more flexible and adaptable than ever. We always need to have an eye on the future, while managing our daily operational functions. We need to create workplaces that are healthy and enjoyable, where people feel empowered and listened to. It’s a two way street; businesses need happy workforces to thrive. StrategyStory has been set up to tackle these challenges. Organisations like Pointer know that this is the way forward. The more of them that we have in our business ecosystem, the better. Thank you Pointer for a brilliant year. 




Sound interesting?

Liked this? You might enjoy our Strategy in Action page to find out more around our digital storytelling and innovation work.


StrategyStory supports businesses to develop strategies that work. This means strategy as collective action rather than a dusty document. We deliver through partnership programmes, online learning, workshops, seminars and public speaking. We also deliver lectures, talks and sessions on strategy and storytelling at private and public events, and host events, workshops and training in Strategy, Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Storytelling in our new studio in the Inverness Creative Academy. 

If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch. hello@strategystory.co.uk




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