The 8 most rich people own as much as 4 billion people!
There are multiple ways of interpreting and presenting the above fact. A politician may demand that governments play a bigger role in regulating their economies. An activist may cry hoarse about nexus between governments and corporate lobbies. An economist may analyse the income distribution and propound a theory to explain the inequality. A businessman may blame intense competition and uncertain markets for the lack of economic growth and high levels of unemployment. Everyone is telling a story. So, are they all storytellers?
Stories Have Power To Change
Storytelling has been one of the oldest arts known to man. It has been around since the stone ages when ancient men painted on the walls of caves.Though a simple depiction of what they saw around them, these paintings were stories of their times. Since then stories have been told through various media. Be it the scriptures, folklores, printed books, newspapers, radio, television, movies and the internet. Stories play a big role in shaping what the general populace think about the world. Stories have created perceptions, made emotional connections and even spawned movements that have led to change in the society.
Take for example hard-hitting documentaries produced by Michael Moore. His work criticizes globalization, large corporations, capitalism and state of affairs in the American medical system. The documentary An Inconvenient Truth was chiefly instrumental in raising issues of global warming at an international level and bringing a great amount of attention to the topic. Back home, documentaries like Gulabi Gang, Children of the Pyre and Daughters of Mother India created a stir with their bold yet poignant themes. Stories have the power to foster and accelerate change. They reflect reality with honesty and elicit emotional response from their audience.
Responsibility Of A Storyteller
A Non-fiction storyteller carries a heightened sense of responsibility on his shoulders. He may have a stand on a topic but examines all the related facts ground up. Unlike a politician or an economist or an activist, a storyteller digs out real human stories and sets them in a larger sociocultural milieu. He does not indulge in propaganda and deploys his creative faculties with integrity. He does not claim to be unaffected by reality yet goes about it curiously, trying to find answers.
World Needs Storytellers
Today, far too many people are living with far too little. The world needs a positive social change, one that is rooted in inclusive and sustainable development for the masses at the bottom of the pyramid. This positive social change has already begun. Ashoka Changemakers founded by Bill Drayton has identified and supported more than 3000 changemakers, problem solvers and innovators throughout the world over the last three and a half decades.
Rise of social enterprises typically based on application of social innovation and principles of modern business management to social impact has emerged strongly in last 10-15 years. While social good has been the bedrock of these ventures, sustaining their efforts towards their goals remains a key challenge for most of them. Growth ecosystem comprising investors, accelerators and favourable government policies has been constantly evolving. However, social entrepreneurship still has not captured the popular imagination and participation, at least in developing countries like India.
David tells stories of some of the most inspiring Ashoka changemakers in this book.
Storytellers have a special role here in nurturing and spreading this social change. Through their art- films, photography, literature or journalism storytellers need to bring to the world’s attention the stories of social entrepreneurs and changemakers. This needs scouting, identifying, creating and presenting these stories through a plethora of platforms. Be it international film festivals like the Sundance or popular literary events like the Jaipur Literature Festival or social media channels, storytellers need to tell wherever they will be heard.
Social change across education, healthcare, clean energy, agriculture and poverty alleviation cannot happen without the constructive participation of a broad section of society– investors, academicians, students, professionals, politicians or consumers. By connecting with them emotionally through stories, storytellers can help create a mass movement in favour of social entrepreneurs and thus ultimately towards social change.
The new-age of social entrepreneurship and positive social change is upon us.This phenomenon maybe in its infancy but one thing is certain- The world needs storytellers to help it re-imagine the future.