Story Design

The Creative Way to Innovate

Denise Withers

Today’s leaders are under pressure to innovate—or else. Trouble is, they never learned how. Story Design fixes that.

It’s the only book that shows you how to design for the future using expertise you already have—narrative intelligence.

Narrative intelligence is today’s untapped superpower; it’s the fuel that drives our creative and analytical engines. We use it constantly, to make sense of and shape our world. It’s what enables us to imagine new services, analyze experiences, predict customer behavior, test theories, map business model canvases—and much more.

In this practical playbook, Denise Withers shares tools from her thirty-five years of work as a filmmaker, consultant, and academic to help you go beyond storytelling and learn how to use story design to create everything from sneakers to strategy. Drawing on real-world examples, she shows you how to:

  • discover and develop fresh ideas;
  • create and test breakthrough solutions; and
  • plan and lead innovation ventures.

Narrative intelligence isn’t new. Neither is design. But no one has combined them before to reveal their hidden potential. Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a start-up or a world leader tackling system change, Story Design can help you develop the creativity and design thinking capacity you need to innovate on demand.


“Fusing expertise from documentary storytelling and design science, Story Design is a valuable resource for innovation practitioners, corporate strategists, change agents, and any organization or group struggling to change trajectory in a dynamic and uncertain environment.”

DENISE WITHERS launched her story career thirty-five years ago as a white-water filmmaker. After getting her feet thoroughly wet, she lander her first television gig—then spent the next twenty years writing and directing documentaries for Discovery Channel. Ninety stories, eight awards, and five continents later, she left the media to earn a master of science in design and start her own story studio. Since then, Denise has used story design to lead innovation in health, education, and economic development across the Americas. She has worked for 100+ clients from industry, government, academia, and not-for-profits. For fun, she races outrigger canoes, hikes with her dogs, and starts campfires in the rain.

ISBN 978-1775055907
$24.70 CAD $18.95 USD
Published December 29, 2017
6 × 9 216 Pages
Paperback, ebook,

Distributed online only