Stories for Innovation

Join the journey and get inspired by heroes from diverse creative industries to push your learning, share and receive feedback and resources, and develop long-term connections.

Journey Overview

Stories for Innovation is at the heart of what The Hero’s Journey known for—human-centered storytelling. This 2-day journey, an in-depth focus on the first phase of storytelling, will ground you in the needs of the people you’re creating for. In this journey, you’ll develop empathy for your customers and surface insights in their stories for creating products and services they want and need. You’ll gain practical storytelling skills and mindsets that will help you turn your customer needs into human-centered stories, solutions and experiences

Introduction Learn about The Hero’s Journey’s approach to innovation, explore the power of stories, and choose your project challenge.
An overview of the 5 skills you’ll be exploring in the course: Observing, Learning from Extremes, Interviewing, Immersive Empathy, and Sharing Insights.
Discussion: Why is it important to see the world through different lenses?
Activity: Choose the challenge that you’ll explore during the journey.

Observe Discover how to observe others and unlock your curiosity.
Practice how to listen with your eyes in order to understand what people value and care about.
Discussion: What helps you get into a curious and non-judgmental mindset?
Activity: Get out in the world and start observing your target audience and their behaviors.

Learn from Extremes Learn why it’s important to look at extremes, and how to go about identifying extreme people to interview and observe.
Understand how learning from extreme perspectives can stretch your thinking so that you can get beyond your assumptions and get to bold, new ideas.
Discussion: Tell us about a time you stretched your thinking beyond your comfort zone. How did it make you feel and what did you learn from this unfamiliar context?
Activity: Identify five to eight extreme people and behaviors to help you see new angles of your project challenge.

Interview Learn how to conduct a great interview with great questions so you can get deeper, more honest answers that inspire great insights.
Learn activities and tools for asking the right kinds of questions and setting the stage.
Discussion: Why is it important to be in tune with your presence when interviewing? How might you enhance your own self-awareness as an interviewer?
Activity: Plan and conduct an interview. How might you use the tips you’ve learned to get to deeper, more honest answers?

Immersive Stories Create immersive story experiences that get you beyond intellectual understanding to a more visceral sense of another’s perspective.
Get beyond your assumptions by putting yourself in the shoes of the people you’re designing for.
Discussion: What does empathy mean to you? Can you think back to a time in your personal or professional life when you developed empathy for someone else’s experience?
Activity: Design and conduct an empathy experience to better understand a different perspective.

Share Stories. Share compelling, quality stories that will inspire and motivate others to innovate.
Take what you’ve learned in the previous lessons and turn it into compelling insights to share with others.
Discussion: What were the themes you arrived at from connecting your individual data points in meaningful ways?
Activity: Capture, connect, and craft your final project insights (ideally with a group).

Encounters Tailored for Your Project

The Hero’s Journey offers a small group of client participants – between 2 and 8 people – a guided and fascinating tour of various entrepreneurship venues and destinations to indelibly link the concepts of The Hero’s Journey. This experiential event is designed to show real-world examples of our various thoughts and ideas that makeup The Hero’s Journey framework.

Participants encounter firsthand the triumphs and failures of The Hero’s Journey experiences and are guided to extract underlying principles that they can apply to their own business.

To prepare for this intensive two-day journey, Peter de Kuster typically interviews the entrepreneurial team in advance to gain background on you, your company, your people, and the issues you face to best create a customized storytelling for your business. They both review the results of these interviews along with marketing materials, project documents, and strategic plans to design the “In the Company of Heroes” content. The “Journey Map” for the two-day event is then reviewed in advance with the primary client contact and modified or adjusted as needed.

The client team gathers with Peter de Kuster in a predetermined “experience-rich” city, such as Paris, London, Rome, Berlin or New York. In each case, we recommend a city best suited for the client and then develop a tailored mix of tour stops based on the client’s industry and issues.

How “In the Company of Heroes” Works

Typically, we begin Day One with a review of various The Hero’s Journey frameworks and tools then set off on our journey together, visiting all manner of businesses that exemplify principles of The Hero’s Journey offering customers the opportunity to create a life and work they love. By learning how to spot these frameworks and seeing them in action, you’ll begin think about the ways they can apply to your business.

On Day Two of your journey, we debrief the lessons learned, using a number of different facilitation techniques to structure this time. The aim is to richly extract insights gleaned from the from Day One’s experiences, and to understand how to apply them to your company.

We’re not looking for best practices — but for best storytelling principles. It’s all designed to drive your company to new powerful storytelling — and we are confident that many practical revenue-generating ideas will emerge from the field work conducted in an “In the Company of Heroes”.

Start with Peter de Kuster by planning an ‘In the Company of Heroes” and take the next step to improving your business and understanding The Hero’s Journey storytelling principles detailed in my stories. Let’s discuss your ideas and questions in detail and let Peter help you integrate his stories about The Hero’s Journey into your business story. You can reach him at to schedule a skype call.