An interesting network of executives, professionals and postgraduate students sharing an interesting in environmental sustainability has grown up in greater London, around the MSc programme run by Imperial College. Known as 6 heads, the group describes itself as "an experiment in shared learning". It was conceived with the hope that "it can contribute to unleashing innovation towards a more sustainable world."
I've known 6 heads since 2011. Since first meeting, co-founder Nicola Millson has generously introduced me to the gatekeepers of stories in her Heroes of the Purchase Journey collection and joined in an open StoryFORMs workshop. I was delighted when Nicola invited me to join 6heads for an evening on stories and sustainability. It was held in Nicola's back garden in mid July.
Guests arrived, with food and wine for the table. Each was asked to complete a name tag - not with their real name, but with a fictional character. So for the evening, I was Milly-Molly-Mandy.
It was a pleasure to hear each person introduce the character and something about their own journey. It felt like people from all the corners of the world had come to this one backyard in Fulham, London.
James Payne, a 6heads director with a passion for stories and experience on Diageo's innovation team, used neuropeptides (those chemical responsible for emotional experience) to characterise the vibe of most stories related to environmental themes.
Then I talked about campfires, and the power of stories to bring diverse people into a common conversation. I talked about stories as a mode for future-tense thinking. I then introduced StoryFORMs. In small groups, people discussed specific shapes in the StoryFORMs canvas - and how the elements of hero, offer, value, new normal, the world and our capabilities inter-relate. And by the time people were drawn back together, night had fallen.
We didn't have a campfire. Or a barbecue. But somehow, by that point, I don't think we needed one.