top of page

Search Results

53 items found for ""

  • 🌟 Narrative Bible🌟

    When I produced TV, we had a show bible. It was a working document that included all the story information we needed to know about the show, the characters, the episodes and seasons. It was our source of truth, ensuring that the new episodes we created aligned with everything we've created before. When I started working with organizations, I realized how vital it was for the teams to have a source of truth -- their own bible. This was especially true when it came to innovation. If the North Star Narrative is the compass for your organization, then the Narrative Bible is the turn-by-turn instructions you need to get to your destination. For organizations, the Narrative Bible is specifically designed around strategic communications. It provides the language and models to best communicate for each group of stakeholders -- enabling engagement, alignment and mobilization. One of my favorite parts of creating a Narrative Bible is tailoring the messaging for different stakeholders. The messaging you use with R&D is going to be different than the message you use with investors, product or regulatory, but they still need to come from the one source of truth. Ask yourself, what's your organization's or team's source of truth? Are you able to communicate it effectively for all stakeholders?

  • 🌟 Narrative Strategy 🌟

    What is "Narrative Strategy"? Narrative is a system of stories, while strategy is the planning and execution of actions or policy to reach specific aims. Combine these two concepts, and you have 'Narrative Strategy' – the art and science of storytelling to achieve desired outcomes. Here's the intriguing part: Narrative Strategy possesses the remarkable ability to align large organizations. In these complex settings, individuals often grapple with understanding their purpose and direction within the broader context. They don’t know what story they’re in and where they are heading. When an organization embraces Narrative Strategy, something magical happens. Its language, culture, and functions all converge around a shared "North Star Narrative." This North Star Narrative is like the score of a symphony, enabling each individual to find their place within the composition. Much like a music composer creates a score for an orchestra, I work with organizations to craft their North Star Narrative. Together, we harmonize their unique stories into a powerful symphony of success. More about Narrative Strategy HBR Your Strategy Needs a Story HBR Strategic Stories: How 3M is Rewriting Business Planning

  • 🌟 North Star Narrative 🌟

    In Mongolian mythology, the North Star is revered as the steadfast peg that anchors our world. Ancient explorers depended on this celestial compass for guidance as they ventured into the unknown. Today, organizations can also harness the power of the North Star to navigate change and uncertainty. Allow me to introduce the North Star Narrative 💫 The North Star Narrative provides compelling and inspiring prose, reshaping your organization's vision, mission, and values into a clear purpose and unwavering intent. Drawing from Aristotle's timeless rhetoric – ethos for 'credibility,' pathos for 'emotion,' and logos for 'logic' – the North Star Narrative becomes your guiding compass. It empowers every member of your organization to identify their current position, chart their future course, and comprehend the 'why' behind it all. Even as landscapes shift and obstacles arise, your organization will rely on its North Star Narrative to illuminate the path through disruption. Embrace the North Star Narrative, and let it be your guiding force through change and innovation. Read more on North Star Narratives: WEF Strategic Narrative: what it is and how it can help your company find meaning HBR Every Company Needs a Narrative Deloitte Setting the north star: staying focused on on track

  • 🌟 Story versus Narrative 🌟

    Often, we use the words "story" and "narrative" interchangeably, but they are distinct concepts. Let's explore story versus narrative. A story is like history, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It's a series of events that have already occurred, and while there can be stories happening in the present, the essence of "storytelling" lies in sharing events with identifiable timelines. Narrative, on the other hand, lacks a predetermined ending. It encompasses both the present and the future, with the future yet to unfold. Narratives are continually evolving and perpetuated, shaped by the stories we tell. But here's the fascinating part: a narrative is a system of stories. Imagine a forest composed of many trees—each story is a tree, a unit contributing to the larger narrative. When you're within the forest of narrative, you're surrounded by countless stories, each playing a unique role. Stepping outside, you gain perspective on the overarching narrative that encompasses them all, like viewing the entire forest from a distance. 🌳✨ As Spock once said, "One man cannot summon the future." To which Captain Kirk replied, "But one man can change the present." This reminds us that within the vast systems of narrative, our actions in the present can shape the unfolding future. 🚀🌍 Consider, how do the stories we tell create our future? What narrative(s) are we perpetuating?

  • The Levels of Storytelling for Impact - Healthcare Edition

    Ever wondered about the real influence of your healthcare stories? In the world of healthcare, we dedicate a substantial amount of time to raising awareness, with the hope that knowledge will drive meaningful change. But often, awareness alone falls short of our goals. Storytelling is a potent tool, yet its true power lies in crafting stories that do more than just raise awareness. Let's explore the levels of storytelling for impact: 1️⃣ Storytelling for Awareness: This is the most common form of healthcare storytelling, from PSAs to patient materials. 2️⃣ Storytelling for Attitude: These stories transform how we perceive health conditions and contexts. Often found in documentaries, personal essays, and advocacy campaigns. 3️⃣ Storytelling for Action: Stories that inspire action, with links, resources, or specific steps for the audience to take. 4️⃣ Storytelling for Behavior Change: The most rewarding form of healthcare storytelling, as it yields the highest return on investment for health outcomes. As you craft your stories for healthcare, take a moment to evaluate the impact of your story. Does it raise awareness? Shift attitudes? Induce action? Or does it create behavior change?

  • From Hero's Journey to Story Circle

    From timeless heroes like Luke Skywalker, to reimagined heroines like Barbie, Hollywood has long relied on a The Hero's Journey to create blockbusters. Yet applying this storytelling framework successfully can be challenging...especially outside of Hollywood. What if your organization's storytelling was as engaging and powerful as Hollywood's biggest hits? This is where The Story Circle enters the scene, a practical storytelling tool designed by seasoned TV writer-producer Dan Harmon ( 'Community', 'Rick & Morty'). The Story Circle offers a streamlined approach to storytelling applicable across various contexts--- including healthcare(!) If you're seeking a straightforward method for crafting compelling stories, consider applying your data to The Story Circle framework. Hollywood-style storytelling isn't limited to the entertainment industry. It can be used to mobilize your team, scale innovation, and create a healthier world. In the words of Star Trek's Captain Kirk , “Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die.” I invite you to explore The Story Circle as a tool to overcome your storytelling obstacles and see what a little Hollywood magic can do for healthcare.

  • Crafting New Behavior

    One way to describe a story is: a character wants something but there are obstacles in their way that they must overcome. Behavior change is similar. We want to change our behavior to reach a desired outcome, but there are obstacles in our way. Behavior change is not always straightforward, but if we lean into our natural storytelling tendencies, maybe, we can make it easier. I see the world through the lens of story, having built a career producing stories for TV, film and games. So when I work on behavior change designs for clients, I always start with identifying who is the main character and what do they want? For instance, let’s take Disney’s Moana. Our main character is 16 year old Moana, daughter of the Chief of Motunui. She wants to save her people from the blight that is infecting their island home. We have a main character and her desire — we know who’s story this is and what’s driving them to take action. But there are, inevitably, obstacles. For Moana, she must learn to navigate the open ocean, find and convince demi-god Maui to join her on her quest, and confront the fiery demon Te Ka. In behavior change design, this is where we start identifying the barriers that get in the way of our user’s desire. How can the main character, Moana, overcome these obstacles? Interestingly, each time Moana is about to give up and declare herself unfit to pursue her desire in the face of these obstacles, she receives social support from either her grandmother or the Ocean spirit, reminding her of her initial desire but also her capability. With their social support reinforcing her desire, Moana overcomes the challenges and restores the heart of TeFiti and saves her people. Moana has finally gotten what she wants, with her behavior changing along the way. When designing for behavior change, it’s not enough to identify the obstacles to the desired outcome — we must also create social support that reinforces the initial desire of the user. Think of Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the most successful behavior change interventions. It’s not a particular high tech behavior design intervention. What it is is a story support system, where fellow addicts help each other overcome their own obstacles through the reinforcement of their initial desires. When we start looking at behavior change design through the lens of story, we can see a more complete picture of the user, their desire and the obstacles they face. But more so, we can help thread social support systems into the main character’s story, noticing the gaps of positive reinforcement when their desire is not enough. We can then help craft a new story, one where the main character finally gets what they desire. When designing for behavior change, ask yourself: Who’s story is this? What story are they in? And how can we help the main character craft a new story where they reach their desired outcome? Ari Mostov is a healthcare narrative strategist, working with healthcare innovators to create a new narrative for health. She often has the Moana soundtrack stuck in her head. Learn more at

  • Charge Your Car, Charge Your Health

    With the EV infrastructure improving each day and the hype for better charging station rest stops coming towards fruition, it’s time we take full advantage of our next great American road trip revolution: rest stop healthcare. While waiting for my Chevy Bolt to charge this past weekend, I couldn’t help but notice what a unique opportunity charging stations offer for our healthcare needs. EV charging does, at the moment, require more time than a simple gas fill up. But what time you spend waiting on the charge is easily made up for with lower costs and more efficient vehicles. Plus, as a road trip nation, we love a good rest stop. We love to stop to stretch our legs, see local roadside attractions, and get some shopping done. So while we’re waiting on our cars to charge, let’s take advantage of this precious time and charge up our health as well. What would this look like? Well, we could take a page out of Tulsa’s gas stations that offer urgent care clinics and start offering them at charging stations. Or we could lean into the wellness and fitness side of things, especially since driving is such a sedentary activity. Like public outdoor gym equipment for adults right next to a playground for kids, along with designated areas for yoga or meditation. Or how about health kiosks that check your vitals inside the fast-food chain? Or a pharmacy that fills your prescription while your car charges? Another added benefit is we’d be expanding healthcare services to underserved areas. Many small towns along major driving routes have just a handful of services available to them, with the closest hospital usually far away. If EV rest stops offer more than just coffee and charging, local residents could have easier access to care thanks to the new infrastructure investment. There’s plenty of existing healthcare designs we could incorporate into our rest stop EVolution. If we’re investing in making each EV charging station an oasis with lounges, wifi and shopping, why not dig a little deeper and include healthcare services as well? Ari Mostov is a healthcare narrative strategist, working with healthcare innovators to create a new narrative for health. Learn more at

  • Unique Value Propositions for Healthcare

    By now, you’ve probably heard about UVP or Unique Value Proposition. This is a marketing term that helps you communicate what differentiates your solution from the competition’s. Plenty of great resources exist for crafting a UVP, but there’s an unusual challenge in designing UVPs for healthcare. Healthcare is a complex system with multiple stakeholders. And guess what? You need a UVP for each stakeholder group. Maybe you’ve already cracked the UVP for your target customer. Say you’ve created a medtech device for patients with diabetes. Awesome, the patient knows why your device is unique and what makes it the best fit for them and they decide to use it. But what about the clinicians, the ones caring for the patient? And the payers, the one paying for the device? And the policymakers, the ones granting market access? Does your UVP make sense to them and what they value? Probably not. You need a Unique Value Proposition for each stakeholder group. Because even if your solution is for one stakeholder, you’re not going to find much traction in commercializing your product unless you have designed a UVP for all the players involved. So how do you craft a UVP for each stakeholder, while also remaining true to your product and company? First, you need to know your company’s narrative. What’s your history? Your present? How do you imagine the future and how you will shape it? Next, identify the values of your stakeholders. What clinicians value is slightly different than what patients value. What regulators prioritize will be different than what payers prioritize. Each healthcare stakeholder, although all in the same industry, will have different needs. Then you can start crafting your UVPs based on each stakeholders’ unique context. I recommend using analogies as part of your process, as it provides a quick reference for each specific stakeholder. Yes, healthcare is complex. Yet by developing UVPs for each stakeholder, you are able to agilely respond to their different and emerging needs. By customizing for each stakeholder, you remain relevant and gain their buy-in as you bring your product to market. Craft UVPs that are just as unique as each stakeholder and you will find yourself well on your way to success. Ari Mostov is a healthcare narrative strategist. She helps healthcare leaders navigate disruption through the power of storytelling. To learn more, visit

  • The Innovation Narrative

    Innovation can often feel like a struggle. Especially when you’re leading a team to build something that’s never quite been done before, while also convincing stakeholders to buy-in to something that has no guaranteed success. So you re-read The Innovator’s Dilemma, compile data in support of your proposal, google “innovation success stories” and somehow come across this blog post. Hi, welcome. I’m glad you’re here. Let’s pause and talk about those “innovation success stories”. Innovation success stories are always about innovations that already exist. From the invention of the wheel to driverless vehicles, these stories recount what has already occurred through the typical story structure: a beginning, middle and end. That’s what stories do — they tell us what happened. The stories we tell about how those great ideas became innovations don’t necessarily guide us as we seek to overcome our innovation struggles. Yet the innovation narrative is different. A narrative is a larger system of stories, woven together with a beginning and middle, but the end has yet to be determined. It has a hoped for end, and a number of individual stories that support it, yet it’s evolving. And with innovation, when we are creating and implementing something new, we cannot know the end state ahead of time. We have an idea, but not certainty. We must evolve, tapping into what we do know, and following that journey of ideation to implementation. The innovation narrative guides us in the innovation process, providing engagement, alignment and mobilization to deliver new value. It’s a mechanism for agility and motivation, giving companies the North Star they need to transform a desire into reality. Here are three ways the innovation narrative can support you and your team: Engagement One of the most challenging aspects of innovation is engagement. If you’re an organization that is struggling to get support for a new endeavor, or your team is overwhelmed with their other tasks, a narrative provides an effective tool to grab everyone’s attention and cut through the noise. As Caroline Bartel and Raghu Garud note, “innovation narratives are powerful mechanisms for translating ideas across the organization so that they are comprehensible.” With the innovation narrative, complex ideas are made relevant and compelling, helping everyone prioritize the project. Alignment Another key asset of the innovation narrative is the ability to develop consensus and direction. Innovation invites diversity, tangential thinking and association. It requires the ability to embrace possibilities, while also finding a way forward. A narrative is able to find commonality, framing multiple perspectives into a cohesive, aligned strategy. As Carl Rhodes and Andrew Brown argue, “[innovation] narratives frame ambiguity, complexity, and even paradoxical situations in an approachable way by visualizing possibilities Mobilization Most critically, the innovation narrative goes beyond the hype and promise of what’s possible, and instead mobilizes the organization to deliver their innovation goals. Francesco Zurlo and Cabirio Cautela write,“the [innovation] narrative acts as a tool that the company uses to implement innovation processes. In the current competitive context dominated by open innovation, where the companies become permeable to spurs, ideas, technologies, and relationships, the ability to structure the narrative becomes fundamental in attracting the resources and relationships necessary for the company’s competitive and innovative goals.” The innovation narrative becomes a part of the company’s culture and behavior, transforming the day-to-day operations into an engine for value creation. Through the power of narrative, innovation is not an ad-hoc, wishful-thinking approach to competitiveness, but rather a paradigm shift in the “how-to” and “why” of the company. The innovation narrative provides guidance and meaning for each individual, team and organization to create what has yet to exist. While storytelling is essential for celebrating successful innovations, it’s narrative that provides the fertile ground for innovation to be realized. With the innovation narrative, we are able to engage, align and mobilize throughout the innovation process. Too often innovations are lost in the unpredictability of human interaction, trounced by competing demands and vague goals. With the innovation narrative, we can always find our North Star, and keep moving towards that new reality. Acknowledgement: A special thank you to Matthew Lewis for his feedback, Jennifer Kenny for the mentorship and groundbreaking work in innovation, and researchers Rebecca Price, Judy Matthew and Cara Wrigley. Ari Mostov is a narrative strategist, creating innovation narratives for category disruptive companies. Learn more at *updated August 30, 2023

  • Who Are We Innovating For?

    So much of today’s “innovation” focuses on incremental product improvements — shiny, new features for products that have been around for decades but don’t truly transform our paradigms. Innovation is supposed to be the cure all for what ails us, but if we’re still subscribing to the status quo, have we experienced innovation at all? A true innovation transforms power and resources. When I work with innovators, we find a lever that shifts the dominant narrative, creating a new story where everyone can thrive. Often these levers do involve existing technologies, but they are applied in surprising and unorthodox ways. It requires a deep reflective and inclusive design practice, unlearning our ideas of what successful innovation even looks like. But most importantly, when we desire to create something with lasting impact, we have to ask ourselves: who are we innovating for? Here are some of the innovative companies I’m seeing that are answering that question boldly: Cognixion Cognixion has leveraged augmented reality to transform communication for individuals with disabilities. Cognixion’s “assistive reality” products provide individuals with a communication resource, increasing participation amongst those who are often left out. Instead of using augmented reality to embellish our world, Cognixion has created a new category of augmented reality that expands access and ability to those who have been left behind. When more individuals are able to participate, I consider that an effective innovation. Bliss Bliss is the first finance application I’ve found that leverages an existing financial instrument to better serve those who are often marginalized. Bliss, which caters towards transgender individuals, but is also expanding to serve survivors of violence, uses treasury bills to build financial independence. For many, having their money in treasury bills is the first introduction to investment, and I personally think it’s an easy on ramp to understanding and growing wealth. Bliss has other phenomenal benefits, but using something as overlooked as treasury bills to help vulnerable people enter the investment space gives greater depth to what’s possible in innovation. Vot-ER Vot-ER is pioneering voting as a social innovation, bringing voter registration to healthcare visits. Founded by ER physician Dr. Alister Martin, vot-ER is leading the way in civic health, demonstrating the impact voter registration has on healthcare and health outcomes. Voting has been an overlooked tool in community care, but with Vot-ER’s voter registration badges, clinicians can help their patients beyond the clinic. Innovations that expand access and power to more individuals don’t necessarily need new technology. Often we just need new thinking and a new approach to transform our ordinary way of doing things into something extraordinary. As we continue our pursuit of innovation, I encourage every innovator to take a moment and reflect on who they are really innovating for? If we continue to chase gizmos and gadgets that only help those who already have power and resources, will we ever be able to see the full potential of innovation? Innovation, at its core, is an opportunity to do things better. But better isn’t enough. We must use innovation so that we can create efficient, effective and sustainable solutions so everyone — not just the few– can thrive. Ari Mostov is a narrative strategist. She helps companies navigate disruption through the power of story, bringing her entertainment expertise to innovation. Learn more at

  • TV: my substance of choice

    The fighting stopped only when The Simpsons were on. Constantly competitive, it was nearly impossible for my brother and I to be in the same room without breaking into a brawl. Yet when the clock struck 6:30pm, we turned the TV to channel 12, where UPN would play reruns of The Simpsons. The moment the iconic theme song started, our fighting stopped — our minds and bodies captivated for the next 30 minutes by America’s favorite family.The Simpsons were such a potent cease-and-desist that my parents bought all 20 or so seasons on DVD, so that when the Simpsons weren’t on air, they could plop in the disk and for a moment, we had peace. The Simpsons and TV shows like it, provided a moment of reprieve from the constant throes of dysfunctionality — suspending my distress for 30 minute increments, allowing me to regulate my emotions and take a vacation from fight-or-flight. TV has proved a reliable source of comfort, being my constant companion on sleepless nights and helping me return to the present when caught in a dissociative funk. TV’s potential for healing has been alluded to, but we’re now just starting to see the biological impact of screen based entertainment, foreshadowing a future where TV is not just a recreation activity, but an engaging, therapeutic tool. Dianna Rieger and Gary Bente demonstrated the physiological effects of media, recording in detail the way the body responds to movies and how it can be used for psychophysiological recovery. Rieger and Bente measured the cortisol levels of an audience as they watched 30 minute movie clips (here I consider movie clips to be the same form of media as TV, both being audio-visual formats). They found that movies were able to alter the cortisol levels of the audience, with soothing, calming movies decreasing cortisol levels — lowering arousal and stress in the audience. They concluded “that entertainment media serve recovery experiences by fostering psychological detachment and relaxation”. Was that what I experienced when my brother and I finally stopped fighting? Turning on The Simpsons worked better than whatever other options were available at the time. In fact, I can’t go anywhere without seeing kids entranced by their favorite characters on screens, finding calm and distraction. Soothing ourselves with our favorite characters and stories is ubiquitous, but how can we know for sure which entertainment will affect us and how? These days, I manage my mood with the click of a button. No longer do I reach for a substance when I’m overwhelmed. I know which shows and which episodes will help me self-regulate. I recently rediscovered Star Trek: The Next Generation, the show my dad would watch with me as a colicky baby. The moment the theme song starts, my body releases all tension, letting the day’s challenges drift off of me like space dust. My body knows Star Trek TNG better than I do, instantly soothed by Captain Picard’s voice and the predictable plot structure of an episode. The early Star Trek and Simpsons conditioning has given me a unique advantage, molding my neural pathways with reliable forms of comfort. But beyond drenching my brain in storylines and beloved characters, I see an opportunity for evolution. It’s time to boldly go beyond our conventional approach to entertainment, and fully embrace a future where TV is more than just an outlet for pleasure: it’s a chance to scale healing. Ari Mostov is a healthcare narrative strategist and principal of WellPlay. A Hollywood veteran, Ari brings her entertainment expertise to healthcare, creating a new narrative for health. Learn more at TV Series Healing Innovation Treatment

bottom of page