Storytelling is particularly suited to addressing complex and ‘wicked’ problems, such as sustainability transitions within energy, climate, and mobility. It brings together stakeholders and/or citizens with different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view and creates an environment for recognition of and learning from the various perspectives represented by the participants. Through facilitation that ensures everyone a voice, storytelling encourages mutual understanding and collective action, but not necessarily a consensus.

  • Promotes Inclusive Dialogue: Facilitates inclusive and empathetic dialogue and interaction between different knowledges and perspectives.

  • Encourages Mutual Collaboration: Creates mutual learning and collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and generations.

  • Supports Conflict Resolution: Contributes to conflict resolution and agenda-setting, which can support collective action.

  • Amplifies Diverse Voices: Gives a platform to diverse and often unheard voices.

  • Generates Rich Data: Results in rich data sets.

  • Lack of skilled personnel: Storytelling is demanding and time-intensive and requires people with organisational, moderation and analytical evaluation skills.

  • Assumption that change will happen: Stories do not change people’s material circumstances, and the impact of storytelling may not be easily measured or necessarily obvious straightaway.

  • Results are not taken forward: Organisers should put effort into taking the results further into policy and decision-making so that participants feel that their time and input was worth it.


Shape Energy: This EU Horizon 2020 project ran storytelling workshops to unpack the local energy challenges faced by city-level policymakers in 17 European cities. Each workshop used story spines but adapted to its local context and to participants to create a safe environment for conversations.


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