Making Stone Soup (story-telling for collaboration & team building)

A 60 minute Case Study by:

Helen Lisowski


About this Case Study

Human beings are hard-wired to appreciate stories. Not just about how our weekend was, but actually woven into the very fabric of what makes us human.

It's not just authors, film-makers and theatre workers who care about stories. Every single one of us needs to be able to listen to and to tell a great tale:

  • every leader needs to tell great stories to inspire their staff
  • executives need to use stories to explain and propagate their vision clearly to investors
  • salespeople need to be able to pitch a good story about their product
  • call centre staff need to listen and interpret the story the customer is telling them

In our technical world, we need stories too. Testers and UX specialists both need to tell stories about user experiences. Developers use stories to explain what they've coded, or how they've done it. We even call our pieces of work ‘stories’ in an agile workplace.

These skills are the foundations of influence, of coaching, and of collaborating.

Using a story that's more than 2000 years old, Helen Lisowski (Fluidworking) illustrates how collaboration works, and why the outcome is greater than the individual parts alone. She reflects on how the facilitator in the story approached the problem to get reluctant participants to collaborate - coaching, influencing, and inspiring hope.

Helen also covers how we need to use stories to build our teams and our tribes. The session includes:

  • we share about ourselves
  • stories we create together as a team

She will show how just playing an ice-breaking exercise moves a group of people closer towards forming a team, and explore how we can create a story about things we did together as a group.

About the Speaker

Helen Lisowski trains and mentors talented people in the software development industry.

Using psychology and behavioural science she helps people to build great habits and work to their optimum potential. She has been involved in agile for well over a decade, working with startups, international corporations and everything in between.

While at NewVoiceMedia, Helen built a team of 10 scrum masters and helped transform the agile process from yearly to weekly releases. She's been speaking, running workshops and writing for many years now (she blogs at

Helen claims her life is filled with variations on the same question: 'Why do we humans do what we do?' She also has a bit of an obsession with afternoon tea.


See the full programme

full programme