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How digital stories can help companies adopt new technologies and working methods

Technology is an enabler for success - or at least it should be. Companies invest too often in new technology, but it does not deliver the results i

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Technology is an enabler for success – or at least it should be. Companies invest too often in new technology, but it does not deliver the results it is intended for. And it’s not because the technology is broken or badly designed; it’s because the staff find it difficult to change old habits.

Deep-rooted behavior is a constraint on progress: old habits die hard, and it prevents staff from readily adopting new technologies and methods – even if it actually makes their lives easier.

Digital storytelling

However, it is not easy to break an old habit, as anyone who has tried to quit smoking or biting fingernails can attest. But it is possible – and replacement is a successful technique to derail our normal train of thought and get us on a new track. Replacement works because it gives our brain a replacement experience to focus on, and as it remains fixed on the new experience, the old ways fade into distant memory.

In theory, the new methodologies and technologies themselves should become this substitute experience, but it does not always work out that way. Unless we can begin the adoption process, old habits may remain a constraint on future progress for a long time.

Why companies struggle to adopt new technologies

New technologies almost always mean new ways of doing things. Sure, problems are never experienced when nothing visibly changes, like when we get updates from existing applications. It is when things do change visibly that it becomes necessary to retrain staff.

A large part of our everyday activities consists of things we do without really thinking about them. Things like brushing your teeth, driving to work or printing a document are all things we do ourselves without thinking critically about it before (or during). This is because our brains are smart and conserve their resources.

We simply do not have to ‘invent the wheel’ every time. This ability is often called ‘muscle memory’, and we use it quite a lot. It allows us to walk while at the same time devising schemes for world domination, or for example singing a nice tune about cats.

The downside of this ability is that it makes it difficult to change things once we have an established pattern.

Believe it or not, many people love the feeling of making mistakes. Because of this resentment, people often interpret the ‘mistake’ when they inadvertently do things ‘the old way’ as a negative feature of the new process, instead of it being their fault.

This is a phenomenon that is often seen when a driver carefully avoids touching a pedestrian or cyclist and leans on the horn to ward off blame; it is because they feel a rush of negative emotion and accept that the source is external. In a short time, it becomes a negative association with the new process, and then it becomes even harder to overcome.

To avoid this, it is better to start the process with a fascinating retraining program that can create a strong new muscle memory from a ‘real’ experience. Digital storytelling enables you to create this experience.

Use immersive technology like VR for digital storytelling purposes
Photo credit: Michelangelo Buonarroti / Pexels

Use digital storytelling to get new working methods going

Digital storytelling has been proven to have incredible impacts for training and retraining. When done well, digital storytelling experiences can become a memorable and engaging event that the participants get a lot out of. The ability to enhance the experience with emotional impacts and resonant narratives is what distinguishes digital storytelling as a training technology.

When participants engage in a digital story-driven training program, they make a full range of neural connections. It is even more pronounced in immersive experiences, using a multi-sensory learning approach to add even more value and impact.

Why immersive experiences are so good for (re) training programs

Digital storytelling is already a powerful way to run training programs as it creates longer lasting memories in a very short amount of time. It accelerates learning programs and reduces the need for retraining thereafter.

However, when these training opportunities are held in an immersive experience, this effect is even more pronounced.

An exciting experience is an ambient audiovisual environment that can be used to deploy digital storytelling. It can be performed in specially designed Immersive Experience Rooms, or with a sufficiently large (sometimes curved) screen that fills the visual field. When the screens are equipped with touch capability, these experiences can also become interactive.

The effect of digital storytelling is greatly multiplied in an immersive environment because it places the participant in the middle of the action. They become more personally involved, and a lack of external distraction ensures that the focus remains constant.

Use digital storytelling in vocational training workshop
Photo credit: Nearsoft Inc / Flickr

Use digital storytelling for retraining and onboard

Retraining is one problem area that all labor forces have to deal with from time to time. This can happen when new responsibilities are placed on a department as the company develops, when a correction needs to be made to existing processes, or when new technology is adopted. However, the need for training is constant.

All companies must ensure that they invest adequately in a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs, and to adapt when things change unexpectedly. Training is definitely needed when new staff join a company as they need to be fully on board. A smooth boarding process can help new recruits establish and start being as effective and productive as soon as possible.

However, training always carries a cost. The time spent staffing on board or training is never a waste, but it needs to be optimized to ensure it is efficient. Digital storytelling can significantly reduce the time spent on training, making it easier to adapt training programs over time. It has a long-term benefit that ensures that training programs achieve their goals consistently, and with minimal long-term costs.

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