The Dutch have a different relationship with water than the Sudanese. The Canadians a different relationship with cold weather than the Kenyans.
Seems obvious; our perspectives are shaped by our experience. What we perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘possible’ evolves over time depending on our experience. So therefore, if we want to change or stretch our ‘normal’, we should seek new experiences. This is the idea behind the old adage “walk a mile in their shoes”.
And yet, I can’t and neither can you. While we might be able to have a tiny taste of another’s experience; we can’t fully. We can’t leave our own experiences behind, our own privilege or abuse. So while we can have a taste, it is nearly impossible to have the full experience.
Stories told well can help. Especially when they are told by people themselves. “Oh I never thought of it that way before” can be the response. And that’s where the learning can begin.
This why user stories are a powerful tool in product development. It’s why architects study and listen to how people live in their homes. It’s why behaviour change experts observe people in action. It’s not magical, but requires focus
What new story are you hearing today? Who’s listening to your story?