There is only a small difference between drama and comedy: drama is about slipping on a banana peel and breaking the spinal-cord. Comedy is about slipping on a banana peel and falling flat on your face. Every business is full of comedy and drama. Drama has been invented by Greeks and they are still the best in it. Greek banking is example of high-quality drama. Storytelling through drama and comedy is based on two unpleasant facts:
- people seem to like watching others breaking the spinal-cord
- people are laughing when watching others falling flat on the face
In comedy, one does exactly the opposite, but in a homeopathic dose. With humor we step over the border of political correctness. It is morally wrong to laugh at human who falls slipping on a banana peel. But we wait to see that no grave harm was made… and we laugh. The storyteller together with the audience rejoices safe return from brief venture to the territory of immorality. The comedy binds audience together as if they were members of a close circle who broke taboo, felt little remorse and are now united by this secret. Far from jumping to laughter, the audience will stall into uncomfortable silence if the storyteller makes an offensive joke that goes too far. Given global trends, an area to laugh upon will shrink in the future, but businesspeople will always be left with the option to make self-depreciating jokes or to mock own organization.
Who is the hero?
Garth Andrus, Deloitte partner in his book The technology fallacy (published by MIT Press in 2019 with co-authors Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky) writes that in AI and digital revolution the enemy to success is always within. To put it simply, technology is not a problem (that is where the fallacy is), people are. Leaders require large doses of courage and conviction to self-deny what served them well in the past. The book gives good advice how such heroic efforts should be pursued. My point here is different.
Most Hollywood films have basically the same plot, which in the storytelling theory is called “the hero’s journey”. Protagonist faces multiple enemies and is constrained by his own weaknesses. His final battle with antagonist could only be won if he chooses and succeeds to transform himself, relieves himself from fear and inhibitions, finds the purpose… It is not recommended telling personal stories following Hollywood scriptwriting manuals – this requires skill and talent most of us do not possess. According to recent Deloitte survey, 94% of global companies plan to be using artificial intelligence in 2021. Many of their leaders will fail to reach this goal. Sharing personal experiences of battles for AI will be educational, entertaining and inspirational.
In 2012 the journey of the international conference ECOM21 began. The goal was to make it a forum where such leadership stories about adoption of AI technology are told. Perhaps AI storytelling and AI revolution share the same success factors – leadership courage, intelligence for self-reflection, capacity for drama and sense of humor. Don't miss a chance to take your part at the 8th ECOM21 Conference that will take place in Riga, Latvia on Novemeber 12, 2021.