The Authentic Voice: Digital stories and the organization
The cultivating compassion project set out to represent and celebrate compassionate practice within local NHS Trusts by creating compassion digital stories for educational purposes. A key project aim was to capture and build on existing practice in order to develop compassionate culture within the organization. The project took an appreciative inquiry approach, which considers that the creative process of storytelling can facilitate a ‘collective imagination’ that can become constructive in making possible change and improvement within and for the organization. Six stories from three separate NHS trusts were created for the toolkit and have successfully been used to raise awareness of compassion. However, these stories are very different from other digital stories. This paper asks why? It explores the impact on the choice of story, the narration of the story and the images used when the stories are specifically created for educational purposes and are considered to represent examples of compassionate care for professional practice development.
The paper suggests that the authentic voice can be lost when stories become incorporated into the organizational discourse. Thus, rather than the stories enabling a ‘collective imagination’ they can become representative of prescribed organizational norms. However, the paper argues that despite this, the value of the stories in facilitating discussing and learning remains because within the organizational context when these prescribed norms are brought to life through the medium of the digital stories, they can be challenged.