Dear Believers of The New Trade,
A few weeks ago some of you funded real money to help me get my message out. Thank you.

schermafbeelding-2011-03-09-om-170536No I mean… THANK you!

Yes, we made it. My book-writing-project ‘The New Trade’ reached its target of 9000 euro.

So today it is my turn to help you. That seems only fair.

A quick reminder for those of you who have forgotten why they funded this project anyways. Well, you wanted to get involved in writing a book together. Maybe you were just being friendly (no worries, much appreciated).

So what again is this book project all about: well, the last couple of years I have been reading about all aspects of storytelling. How it influences the economy, the society, leadership, authenticity, social media and so on. Interesting stuff. I have also been guiding quite a few international companies in using storytelling as a business tool. I have given a dozen workshops and lectures about this theme to blue chip companies. They all seemed convinced about 1 thing: the power corporate storytelling. No, it’s not a marketing tool. No, it is not business as usual. I have been calling it “the new trade”. And I believe the new trade IS the new business as usual!

Futurist Rolf Jensen predicts, “Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths”.
For myself I have been intrigued with stories and storytelling ever since I was a very young boy. Stories are how we convey our deepest emotions and talk about those things that we value the most. Everyone has a story to tell. And exploring these stories is my business imperative.
Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a moral duty. Because I believe that corporate life manifestly dehumanises us, mechanises us into robots. It seems strange that any attempt to infuse it with a soul -with a story- seems bizarre and widely out of place. I believe in breaking down the walls of corporate-dom. Typical management talk does not interest me. Not in companies, not for myself. I focus on stories. Real, authentic stories that help each organisation with its change processes, its strategies, its communication and its position within society as a whole. Is your company touching people’s minds and hearts? Are your leaders sharing the stories that will create the future they envision?

Mmm… don’t get me going here.

schermafbeelding-2011-03-09-om-171905So I decided to write a book about all of this. And to make it simple and concrete I try to summarize my view in one sentence:
The New Trade: is all about people – connecting with other people – by sharing their stories for everyone to repeat – hoping to inspire the world and ultimately make it a better place.

You can still download the Manifesto (pdf) that I have already written about it..

If you want to be part of ‘The New Trade’ movement you can start by joining me in this book-writing-project. How does this work. Simple. I write stuff and you can have your say in it. This way the book gets crowdsourced and gets connected with lots of good stuff from our community (believers first).

To get started: I want to share with you my research for this book-writing-project. Follow this link to Delicious and have look at all the material I have been reading lately on storytelling, social media, communities, innovation, crowdsourcing and many more:

I have organized it with ‘tags’. If you look for the tag ‘thenewtrade’ you will find all the material there. There are also subtags that will help you to choose which stuff you find more interesting. This is my first gift back to you (you’re welcome!).

If you go Twitter you can find me @rafstevens. Please connect with me if you want to follow along. I have been sending multiple tweets to the community often using #thenewtrade. Look for it, you’ll probably find lots of material and people that could be interesting to you or your business.
I have also set-up on online discussion group for this project. I called it ‘LinkedStories’ and you can access it via Google Groups.

schermafbeelding-2011-03-09-om-172201Finally, I have put out a “rafstevens” website on Postereous.  This site combines my work from and my book-writing-project. The content of this site contains curated thoughts from the storytelling community and from my blog. It also has links to all the sites mentioned in this blog post (consider it as a central please where you can always come back to if you lost the links).

So what’s next? Well, that is entirely up to you. If you want to be closely involved then I welcome you to join The New Trade movement right now. Start reading some of my research stuff. Start a discussion in Google groups/LinkedStories. Throw me mail: I’ll try to answer to every mail within 24 hours (take notice that there is a time difference between New York, London and small town Nieuwenrode here :-)

Start spreading the word via Twitter. Every tweet counts to create a New Trade of a re-humanized business full with stories.

As for me? I will do all of that in the following weeks. Than I’ll see if my message connects to you, and if I can get you engaged in all of this.

Isn’t this cool. This is the way stories connect in the year 2011.

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