We can all learn how to tell a great story, revealed Aaron Shin, senior director of the transition to products at Raytheon Company in Waltham, Mass., in his IESF keynote, “The Art of Storytelling.”
Okay, admittedly, many of us geeks and nerds may not be the best speakers. But, so what?
Don’t get me wrong, I strive toward and aspire to be a phenomenal, thought-provoking speaker and, as a result, an effective agent of change. I am supremely satisfied and proud, as should all geeks be, to be an engineer, a systems architect, a product designer, or other innovator helping make possible the next “greatest thing since sliced bread.” After all, aren’t we an agent of change in that regard, by enabling solutions to solve current and future challenges? I think so, but I also digress….
Shin postulated that, with the advent of a good story and a good storyteller, the world could have avoided one of the biggest engineering bungles. That is, in the automotive industry, leading carmakers in Europe largely outfitted cars such that drivers maneuvered the car from the right side, whereas American companies manufactured cars with the driver on the left side. With someone asking the right questions, as well as formulating and getting buy-in on a cohesive plan, he argues, billions of dollars could have been saved. If they had made ONE decisive choice, rather than diverging in opposite directions, we could have avoided the need to design, inventory, manufacture, market, support, and maintain two completely different baseline vehicle designs—all because, as Shin puts it, no one decided to craft the story, “Hey, Let’s All Drive on the Same Side of the Road.”
The moral of the story, fellow geeks, is: By crafting and relaying eloquent and effective stories, we move the world forward and, according to Shin, can avoid major financial and engineering faux pas, such as left-side and right-side driving cars.