Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Year

I fear
New Year

I hope
People

(I know it doesn´t rhyme)

will give
us reason to believe

a new way
like a play

to do things together not alone
so the world will swim and not sink like a stone

The future depends if we can make it
without bureaucrats

(no rhyme there as well, I know!)

Look at the word, it looks like something from Disney - the bureaucrats

The film should have a very simple story line:
The bureaucrats will leave their offices
Throw away the papers with numbers and figures and controlling methods.

Then they will start live a life together with the real people

And they will apologize for all the effort that humanity gave to all this papers, excell documents, controls and academic waste of time and they will all start playing some wildly complicated jazz and we will all let them because playing wild complicated jazz does not harm people like papers, excell documents and controls.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

COP15

Our premier minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen is tired. Understandable. Let us face it. In UN he is an amateur. And the only pro around, Connie Hedegaard, wasn´t allowed to have a success. If you ask why that, I think the major reason is Danish Folkparty (a right wing party that is part of the government) - no goood! This country needs another support party!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am looking forward to christmas

I am looking forward to Christmas – there are things that I really enjoy: Spending time with my family, see the excitement in the eyes of the children, sing in the church and the smell in the kitchen Christmas eve. But these joyful moments are not what I am thinking about when I say that I am looking forward to Christmas.

What I am really looking forward to is with the word of Grundtvig to reach beyond christianity, to find traces of a lifestyle connected to nature.


At the brake of dawn on the 25. of december I will go out in the open countryside where I live, find the darkest spot and hopefully my eye will glance at a wonderful phenomena.

I will look towards southeast and find Sirius, the brightest star in the heaven. Sirius is placed on the heaven exactly on the spot, where the sun is soon to rise. I will find Orions Belt, three stars on line, placed on top of the bright shining star – I don´t lye to you, it is as there is a line drawn from the Belt to Sirius and the line points directly to the spot where the sun will rise moments later.

And then I will think about the connection between this phenomena and the story from the bible with the three wise men = the Belt of Orion, and the birth of a King = Sirius/Sun.

Is it a coincidence? Or it is so that this phenomena points back in history before christianity? Does it tell us about what Robert M. Pirsig in his wonderful book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values” talks about when he says that mythos came before logos?


When I see the sun rise, my feet are cold and I rush back to my family. The coffee is warm, so is my beautiful wife and the rest of family is hardly awake. When they do, we will eat breakfast together and talk about the scientific fact that this day, the 25. of december is just a tiny bit longer than the 21. of december. And naturally the conversation will leap to spring and it will make us all very happy.

I sure look forward to Christmas.

Listen to the story here:

www.cocosbrandconcept.com/reflections/First_page/First_page.html

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A modern school thinker from 1836 - oral, respect and conversation

The living word

In Grundtvig’s preface to his 1832 study of Scandinavian mythology, Nordens mytologi [Nordic

mythology], the first glimpses can be seen of the Danish folk high school of the future:

There will be the common centre from which the institution branches out into all the main lines of practical life, and

back to which it endeavours to gather and unite all the energies of society. Here, all the civil servants of the state who

do not need scholarship but life, insight and practical ability, and all those who wish to belong to the rank of the

educated should get the very best chance of developing themselves in a suitable direction and of getting to know one

another.6

Although Grundtvig’s ideas for a folk high school are in the merest embryonic form in ‘Nordic

mythology', nevertheless, this work does contain a full dress-rehearsal for Grundtvig’s later attacks

on the ‘Schools for Death’, as he called the Latin grammar schools. Latin is ridiculed mercilessly;

its literature Grundtvig considers to be an ‘abomination ... imitation work and unlike Greek and Old

Norse did not spring from the life of the people’.7 In Grundtvig’s contrasting of the ‘spiritless and

life-less learning of the Romano-Italian’8 with the vivid oral traditions behind Greek and Norse

mythology, there is a foreshadowing of the great importance Grundtvig was to give to oral

communication in his plans for education.


Read the whole article:


www.ibe.unesco.org/publications/ThinkersPdf/grundtve.pdf -

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Storytelling is a modern thing - internet and the rest is so oldfashion

Two-Way Communication

Imagine a group of managers discussing what to do about communication. One says: “Why don´t we try with storytelling?” and starts explain that stories can make complex messages understandable. The other managers are sceptical. They don´t understand, it sounds a little strange and very modern.

The managers are right. Storytelling (oral!) is strange and very modern.

Old fashion medias - books, Radio, TV, Movies and in many ways also the Internet (even though it is a more active from of communication it is still based on dead computers) - have one thing in common: They are based on one way communication.

So in one sense it gives meaning to say that they don´t really care about you. You can fall in love, you can change your life, you can spend your time eating water melon or fish budding, you can die - they don´t care, because they can´t feel you.

It is the same with power point presentations: The speaker doesn´t really care about you. The whole set up is finished and you as a listener are there as part of a strange ritual, that you have to fullfill without understanding the reason. If you die in front of a presentator with a wonderful PowerPoint Presentation he probably would notice, but you can fall in love, talk to your neighbour, answer your e mails and do a lot of other thing while the PowerPoints seems to have their own will.

But then someone tells you a story, something else happens. The storyteller care! The listener care! You can´t die without the storyteller notice, you can´t fall in love without the storyteller is aware of your reaction. You can´t answer e mails without the storyteller noticing it. So what? I will tell you.

When you listen to a story, you know that you are important. You become part of the creation of the story. And so with the rest of the audience: We can change the storytellers way of telling the story.

It may not be something you notice consciously, but just the feeling of eye contact, the direct and clear communication between two people, is enough for me as a listener to feel that I am important in determining the direction the story will take. Each of the people listening to a story affects how the story develops.

It is a strong feeling to take with you out into the real world. You helped shape the story; now go out and shape reality. You have to experience it to understand it completely: how the almost hypnotic state a story can put a person in can activate and create at the same time.

As the storyteller, you enter into an unpredictable dance between storyteller and listener(s) – where the power and energy constantly shift from one to another. This complementary dance of contradiction is what I refer to as "interplay" or “interaction”.

Interplay Between Storyteller and Listener

The first interaction between the storyteller and the listener is the choice of story.

Try to imagine one of the listeners. What is her interest? Who is his partner? Try to put yourself in the shoe of the listener and from that point answer the fundamental question:

Is the story relevant to me as a listener?

If you have answered yes to that question, ask yourself the next, just as crucial:

Does the storyteller learn something new from telling this particular story to this particular audience?

The storyteller must be curious - must have the spirit to explore the unknown. This story will be told once to these people at that moment. So you as a storyteller are excited to learn from the experience.

When you search for a good story, try searching unlikely places. If you are the boss, ask the cleaning staff, if you are a mother searching for a good story, search in your own life. Do you remember your first bike? The first kiss?

Sometimes a story needs to be refined to be a diamond. And the only way to find out if the story is a diamond is by telling it. So find someone to practice on. Ask the person: Will you please listen to this story and give your honest feed back?

Interplay Between King and Servant

You have found an opportunity. The listeners are there. You have an audience.

Before you start telling your story you have to consider: Are the listeners comfortable? Do they hear you? Can you see their eyes?

What about the light? Do you stand in front of a window? Are your face visable?

Your beginning is crucial.

Go straight to the story. Let us hear: Where? When? Who? You know that your story is good. Show it! Be there for the listener. In the silence, you invite us into the world of your story.

You let us, as listeners, create meaning, images and sensa

Stimulate our senses.

It could be done very fast by telling about the looks, the sounds, the smells. And then silence.

If you are uncertain, be honest. Don’t shout, whisper. Instead of throwing more energy to a sceptical audience, you should try the opposite: Give less energy. Create a moment of silence. Invite the listener into a mutual experience.

Tell us your story both as a king and as the most humble servant. It is a complementary movement between opposites.

When you finish your story, you are the king again. Just finish your story.

Stop talking and let the listeners speak. Don’t apologize and don’t ask for their sympathy. Just relax and let the listeners give their feed-back.

Interplay Between Meaning and Pictures

If the story just contains a lot of beautiful images and the meaning is nonsense, you have lost your audience. And they will never come back to you. So you have to pick a good story with new insights for the listeners and you as a storyteller.

But just as important is the need for clear and creative images in the story.

Read the work of H.C. Andersen. In every story you are stimulated. He creates images, tells about the sound and the smells. In this way, he activates you, he invites you to work.

My Swedish colleague, Anders Granström tells about a city that had a wall around it. When he has finished his story, he asks the listeners, “What colour is the wall?”

A woman on the first row saw a red wall, in the back two men agree on yellow and soon the room is filled with suggestions.

As long as the details are not relevant to the meaning of the story, the listener can create their own images.

There are always two stories told: The story of the storyteller and the story of the listener.

Silence is a key word here. It is in the silence filled with tension that the listeners create images.

Interplay Between Silence and Words

If you don’t know what to say, say nothing

When you are quiet as a storyteller the silence is filled with tension. In the silence the listeners create their own story. They imagine the ending, they ask if it’s a reliable story, they create the images of the story, they are very active here.

The silence create rhythm, the story is like a piece of music. Some of the parts should be told very fast, others are slowly told with lots of details. It depends on the story and the only way to find the rhythm is to tell the story.

Interplay Between Epic and Dramatic Storytelling

Once upon a time is a typical epic phrase. You describe the scenario, where does the story take place? Who is in the story?

When you change your voice, so it sounds like one of the characters in the story, you are dramatic. You can also change your body gestures as long as you remember a story told is not theatre.

It is of the outmost importance that the storyteller links organically with the movements, the gesture and the changing of the voice. If it doesn’t feel natural, don’t do it.

There has to be a balance between the two, the epic and the dramatic parts in your storytelling.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Billederne på bordet

Mødet


Der sidder en mand på 67 år overfor mig ved det runde spisebord i stuelejligheden i forstaden Glostrup. Han læner sig frem for at se de fotografier, jeg har med til ham. Et sort/hvidt billede af en gammel motorcykel, en række mennesker foran en stor bondegård, en ung arbejder stående med rygende bly på Poul Bergsøe og Søn. Jeg ser på manden, en fremmed.

Manden er min far.

Jeg kan ikke huske, at jeg nogen sinde har siddet sådan. Koncentreret om at finde ud af, hvem han er, hvad han står for og hvad jeg kan lære af ham.

Min far gik på arbejde, jeg husker Larsen og Nielsen Betonelementfabrik, hvor Brøndby Strands beton blev støbt. Det var min far, der skabte elementerne i Brøndby Strands grå mure.

Min storesøster døde, da jeg var 8 år og efter det begyndte der en tid for mig med masser af ballade, oprør og tisse i bukserne. Min far stod på sidelinjen og lod mig forbløde i min mors følsomhed. Den tids mænd overlod al føleri til deres koner, der så passende kunne blive lettere hysteriske.

I ti år, fra jeg var 15 år til jeg var 25, syntes jeg at han var åndssvag i ordets bogstaveligste forstand. Og at det ikke kunne passe, at den uintelligente mand, som hver aften sad i lænestolen, uden at sige noget klogt og uden at have læst nogle af de bøger, som jeg mente man skulle have læst, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer og Platon - at han skulle være mit fædrene ophav.

Jeg lyttede til Simon Spies´ stemme i radioen og var overbevist om, at der var min far. Simon var klog, han var provokerende, han var følsom, alt sammen egenskaber, jeg kunne genkende hos mig selv. Det var straks sværere, når jeg så over på den mand, der sad og læste Ekstra Bladet og røg Mac Barens Mixture. Jeg syntes, den mand var dum som en dør og havde kun foragt overfor ham.

Da jeg mødte min nuværende kone og fik bare en anelse ro på mit liv, fik jeg lyst til at fortælle min fars historie. Jeg ville lave en video om hans sidste arbejdsdag. Jeg ved ikke, hvor idéen kom fra. Men jeg var overbevist om, at verden ville lytte til min fars historie. Da jeg præsenterede ham for idéen, var han ikke specielt interesseret. ’Hvad skulle det nu være godt for?’ Men jeg var stædig og mente, at det ville være godt for ham, for mig og for verden. Han accepterede uden entusiasme.

Derfor sidder jeg nu i hans stue ved spisebordet. Min mor sidder ved sofabordet i den grønne lædersofa og strikker. Min far smiler ved billederne fra Bergsøe og Søn og fortæller om at han ikke havde lyst til at være på treskift og ville på dagholdet. Det kunne han ikke komme. ’Så holder jeg i morgen’, var min fars kommentar. ’Det kan du ikke’. Jo, det kunne min far. Så næste dag afleverede han sit værktøj. Og da var det lige før, han kunne komme over i direktørstolen.

Jeg ser fascineret på min far. Han er en beskeden, ordholden og yderst sympatisk mand, som jeg godt ville have haft som far, dengang jeg havde brug for det. Men han fik vel ikke lov. Min mor var hele tiden i vejen.

Pludselig blander min mor sig i snakken. Jeg vender mig irriteret. Men så hører jeg min fars stemme. Den er afvisende på en behagelig måde. Han siger bare til hende, at det ikke er hende, der er på i aften og at mikrofonen slet ikke kan optage hendes stemme. Stille og roligt får han hende til at tie stille, så vi kan gå videre med vores projekt.

Min far

Aage Verner Jensen blev født i 1922 i en søskendeflok på 13. Han var 10 år gammel, da han blev sendt ud for at tjene. 25 år gammel blev han forkarl på Bostrup Østergård oppe i Salling, hvor han kom fra. Han havde ansvaret for over 20 heste og tre karle skulle hele tiden beskæftiges. Da han ikke kunne blive enig med manden på Bostrup Østergård om lønnen, skaffede han sig hyre på Glostrupgård, 13 kilometer fra København, hvor han med det samme vidste, at her blev han ikke længe. Maden var elendig, så efter 3 måneder søgte han arbejde på Poul Bergsøe og Søn, en fabrik, hvor bl.a. bly og andre giftige metaller blev samlet, opvarmet og støbt til store firkantede klodser.

Jeg lytter fascineret til min fars fortælling. Den er præget af at han har en 100 % konkret indstilling til livet. Der er intet abstrakt i måden at favne og forstå verden.

Jeg tænker over, hvor meget anderledes min verden er. Der er næsten intet konkret, alt er abstrakt.

1951 blev han gift med min mor, Rigmor som kom fra Norge og var en følsom kvinde. De fik to børn, hvoraf den ene døde af kræft, da hun var 13 år.

Vi taler ikke længe om min storesøster. Det er ikke et emne, min far har lyst til at dvæle ved.

I 1972 blev han jord – og betonarbejder og har været det lige siden.

Min far har talt sig varm. Han fortæller om kollegaer, der betyder noget for ham og hvordan man ikke skal finde sig i alting.

Han fortæller om Sven Flugt, en ingeniør han helt tydeligt har meget respekt for. Men sådan har det ikke altid været. I starten havde de deres kontroverser. En dag havde Svend Flugt sagt til min far, ’så nu kan du gå ned i skuret og køle af’. Min far kendte reglerne på en byggeplads og det er ikke ingeniøren, men sjakbajsen, der kan give den ordre. Så det fortalte min far en ophidset Sven Flugt. ’Du kan ikke sende mig ned i skuret, det er kun Jørgen der kan det.’ Og sådan blev det. Aage stod fast på sin rettighed og Sven Flugt måtte kapitulere.

Min far konstaterer tørt, ’at siden den dag har vi været de fineste venner’.

Jeg tænker på det der med at kunne sætte grænser for andre mennesker, når de træder ind over ens enemærker. Og jeg mærker en irritation mod min mor og det hun står for.

Jeg kunne godt have brugt noget af min fars power i mit liv. Det tog mig mange år at lære at sige fra. Måske fordi det eneste jeg havde med mig i bagagen var min mors tolerante og forstående følsomhed.

Set i bagspejlet var det ikke min mors skyld eller fejl. Det var sådan, verden var. Mændene skaffede pengene, kvinderne passede børnene. Eller sagt på en anden måde: Mændene handlede, kvinderne følte.

Min generation gjorde oprør mod de traditionelle kønsroller. Vi prøvede at definere en ny følsomhed fra mændenes side. I det projekt manglede vi vores fædre som rollemodeller. Borte havde taget dem og vi, de nye følsomme mænd, anede ikke, hvordan vi skulle tackle verden.

Denne aften får jeg lov til at spejle mig i min fars måde at gøre tingene på. At det bl.a. er muligt på en stille, håndfast måde at markere, hvor ens grænser er.

Respekt

Mødet forandrede mit liv. Og det havde afgørende betydning for vores fælles liv. Vi begyndte at tale sammen om forskellige emner, som vi aldrig havde berørt før. Der var kommet en gensidig respekt ind i vores samvær, som vi begge nød.

En vigtig ting var, at min far opdagede at jeg også arbejdede. Det havde han aldrig forstået før. Før arbejdet med filmen om ham i 1989 havde jeg lavet teaterforestillinger i Ungdomshuset på Jagtvej, organiseret teater - udvekslingsprojekter med italienske og afrikanske skuespillere, udgivet digte i Hvedekorn samt studeret Dramaturgi på Århus Universitet – alt sammen noget, som min far ikke kunne forholde sig til.

Da vi optog filmen på byggepladsen, var vi de første der kom om morgenen og de sidste, der tog af sted om aftenen. Vi opførte os ordentligt overfor hans sjak og blev taget godt imod. Vi knoklede for at lave en god film, og det skabte respekt.

Videoproduktionen fortsatte uden at min far forandrede attitude overfor projektet. Han var høflig og stillede aldrig spørgsmålstegn ved de ting, vi foreslog ham at gøre. Han gjorde det med en suveræn naturlighed i alt, hvad han foretog sig. Min far spillede aldrig min far. Min far var min far. Hele tiden.

Det kom der en rigtig god film ud af, Aage takker af, som TV2 Danmark købte til visning den 4. juni 1991. Da var min far og mor flyttet over til os i Jylland og min far var berømt i Galten en hel uge. Det tog han naturligvis, som han tog al anden virak: Med ophøjet ro og et ’nå ja, så vigtigt er det vel heller ikke’.

Min far døde i 2004 efter et langt og virksomt liv.


Se filmen

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I am excited. I have been blogging for a week now and is looking for first comment. Who is being be the first person telling me, that he or she actually reads what I am writing?
I think I am going to send an e mail to my wife :-)

I am in Ljungby to one of the biggest storytelling festivals in Scandinavia. For 20 years these people have been organizing this event. I heard my former colleague Anders Granström telling a story that I have heard three times, first at a dinner table somewhere along the road, next in Kings Garden and now here. Still it made me cry, he is good!!!


Friday, June 12, 2009

In this moment, as I write these lines in a train bound for Ljungby Storytelling Festival, Thaler Pekar, a wonderful New Yorker filled with great knowledge on how stories can transform organizations is going to deliver a workshop on Sustainable Storysharing, and will be sharing a quote of mine,

“We enter into the world by listening to stories about it. We begin changing the world by telling about it.”

My daughter is in Ghana, Africa and my words are spreaded all over the world. Great feeling! I miss my daughter, though, I don´t miss my words :-)
Stein Bagger, Ronaldo, rain puring down in June, financial crisis - the world is trembling. Answers: Human Beings being human.
I am choked - on behalf of my children I have to shout: Beware. Please look at this: Stein Bagger is accused of fraud for app. 150 mill. Euro. See the video of a star. He is cool, he is elegant and he ask the photographers: Did you get your pictures? And he turns around, so everyone can have the best shot. This world is really in a moral crisis.
Did any of the photographers ask them selves what they were doing?

Ronaldo - a soccer player is worth 150 mill. Euro. Crisis? What crisis?



I visited a special school and made them tell stories. Great lies and big creativity. Then I told them stories from my own life. One of the boys had told the teacher he did not want to tell stories and he thought it was a waste of time - he made a drawing of the TV set in my story about my sister, that you can read in my book, see www.historier.dk - I told the teacher to start from there. Let them make drawings inspired by the story. He was delighted and filled with energy when I left him. It is going to be exciting to hear whether or not he succeed.


Thursday, June 11, 2009


I am going to Ljungby Berättarfestival tomorrow and I am going to teach students how to tell a story, visit Ljungby City Council for improvement of their stories and holding a workshop on Organizational Storytelling. For the first time in the six years I have been at the festival, I am not going to tell stories - So Steve Denning is right: I am no longer a storyteller, I am a business person.

One of the things I find interesting is how to ask questions that stimulates stories, questions that is answered by a narrative example.
I will try figure out whether or not anybody else is doing research on this.
Return with more.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Funny how things change. This is history, like digging in the past. I don´t tell stories anymore, I don´t arrange stories in Kings Garden, I don´t make stories, the only picture in this film that is updated is the Novozymes picture, I still work for companies and help them tell their stories.
If you want to buy my stories, you can buy them on www.historier.dk - a shop with stories in danish and english will soon be online.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Stories in Kings Garden, Copenhagen



For 10 years I arranged Stories under the Branches of a tree. This is last night in Kings Garden for me. Now someone else has to take over.
Interaction is the key word for storytellers.

Artikel i Kommunikationen.dk

http://is.gd/sqmk0O - storytelling for en ny generation af ledere.