Sharing Practices – this is my Story, what is yours
The old and well-known saying teaches us not to invent the wheel twice. Even though cooperation and knowledge sharing has always been a part of higher education activities, the topic gets never outdated. We tend to think that in order to have fruitful cooperation, it has to be planned and organized well. This often leads to structured and tightly scoped projects and collaboration activities which bring results and answers to pre-defined questions and targets. Open and cross-disciplinary sharing of practices provides another, more experimental-driven approach to cooperation. It offers the sharers the opportunity to describe their experiences and learnings from their own point of view, without the limitation of considering the different interpretations from readers and listeners. It also enables the sharer to use familiar terminologies and expressions and focus on the content. Storytelling has been introduced to the academic field as a valid format of sharing practices, experiences and learnings. Stories appear in multiple formats, and it has to be noted that as storytelling is sharer-driven, the choice of format is also in the hands of the sharer. Stories can be personal or organizational, even multiorganizational. They can be formal or free-form, fact-driven or based on opinions, and the heterogeneity of stories offers the reader and listener a wide choice of interpretations. Learning from stories requires an open mind and the ability to transfer the message from the story to the reader’s own context. While this can be demanding, it is also rewarding, as it does not limit the message transfer in any way. There are no pre-defined targets or expectations for the utilization of the learnings, and each reader can interpret the message of the story according to their own contexts and needs. The demanding side comes with a fact that stories rarely give readymade answers or solutions to the reader’s needs, but require effort in interpretation. While the world around us becomes more and more complex, the solutions and answers to rising challenges and needs also need to be discovered from different sources than before. The best solutions may be found in the most unexpected places and stories. With open eyes, ears and minds.