Creating My Story


I’d like to be a consultant that helps people incubate innovation. That includes ethnographic research, user-centered interaction design, and helping the client re-frame their questions.

I do this naturally. I think my grandmother would call this a “buttinski” that’s Americanized Yiddish for “Some one that butts in.” I like to like to hear peoples’ problems and then help them look at the problem from different points of view.

I grew up feeling like “an outsider” so I see the world from different points of view. In sum: I have no taste, because taste is relative to your cultural paradigm. So, it allows me to see things from a variety of perspective simultaneously.

This is my passion but now how do I turn it into a business?

I’ve been told by several people I respect (Betsy Burroughs and Ramana Rao) that I need to tell my story.

According to Michael Goldhaber we are now entering the attention economy. So my story has to be compelling (grab peoples’ attention) and be short and it has to resonate with something in their own experience.

How do I begin to take my life and reduce it to a four sentence paragraph. From Latin American Revolution to innovation buttinsky?
Not a good title. (But it does have the word butt in it and Beavis and Butt Head author writes: “Butts are funny” http://filmtv.eserver.org/beavis-and-butt-head.txt)

Let me start by laying out the elements of a good story?

According to learner.org :

“What Goes into a Plot?

Narrative tradition calls for developing stories with particular pieces–plot elements–in place.

Exposition is the information needed to understand a story.

Complication is the catalyst that begins the major conflict.

Climax is the turning point in the story that occurs when characters try to resolve the complication.

Resolution is the set of events that bring the story to a close.”

Ok, this seems too hard. Let me look for another approach.

Creating a corporate identity, that seems like it might be easier.
A quick Google search turned up “A corporate identity acts as a signal for the type of business that you are. It should be an idea that pulls together why you do what you do, what it is you are actually going to do and how you are going to do it.”

Ok, this defines the final product, so I’m still stuck with creating the original plot line.

Still too hard. I’ll try a quick Google. It turns up the wikipedia version. I’ll try brainstorming to this:

“Initial situation – the beginning. It is the first incident that makes the story move.
My birth
My parents as radical activities
My alternative education
My living outside mainstream culture
Living in Latin American revolutions
My formal education
My lack of formal education
My living as an outsider tying to blend in
My work as a journalist
My work with peasants, workers and Indigenous people
My awards

Conflict or Problem – goal which the main character of the story has to achieve.
Help clients make lots of money
I help client make innovative breakthrough
I help an individual make a breakthrough
We have a great time
We become friends

Complication – obstacles which the main character has to overcome.
Old paradigms are hard to break
Once people believe something to be true all evidence points to that truth

Climax – highest point of interest of the story.
I see the solution
Suspense – point of tension. It arouses the interest of the readers.
Will the client see it or is the idea too far out?
Denouement or Resolution – what happens to the character after overcoming all obstacles/failing to achieve the desired result and reaching/not reaching his goal.
I reach my goal- innovation occurs
Conclusion – the end of the story.”
I satisfy the client and they tell all their friends.

It’s so hard to brainstorm by myself.

I’ll try the plot-o-maticit is basically a mad lib game. I have a soft spot in my heart for mad libs. We created a mad libs type game to teach grammar years ago.

So here is what the automatic plot generator wrote:
The High Paid Consultant
an original screenplay concept
by Vale3rie

Drama: A kind hearted prostitute teams up with a well-built female cyborg to find the true meaning of love. In the process they rescue a super intelligent chimpanzee. By the end of the movie they buy 7 washed up ex-SNL cast members and end up winning the admiration of their universe, living happily ever after.
Think Ernest Goes to Camp meets Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Ok, now I’ll take that plot structure and add my own content:

Story:
The child of 60’s radicals teams up with Computer Visionary Dr. Douglas Engelbart and visual journalist Eileen Clegg to effectively communicate his vision for raising the collective IQ. In the process she discovers her talent for facilitating the creative process. By the end of the movie she has helped clients get unstuck and unleash their full creativity leading to an effective and innovative approach.

Well, not too bad for a first pass. I’ll keep working on it. But I do have rave reviews on linkedin

What do the reviews say?

“Valerie is one of the most creative persons, I have ever met. Almost three years ago, she was using blogs and wikis for education. She likes to learn new technologies and apply them to teaching and learning. Every time I interact with her, I discover some new perspective. I enjoy working with Valerie.”

Dorai Thodla, Co-founder, iMorph, Inc

“Valerie and I co-taught two courses on collaboration and the applications of Doug Engelbart’s ideas of collective IQ, capability improvement, and innovation. Valerie is astonishingly creative, and can likewise bring remarkable work forth from students. Her capability to spark creative thought in others is exceptionally valuable.”
Jamie Dinkelacker, Google

Oh, I needed that…outside validation from two awesome guys.

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