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10 Thought-Provoking Talks From The Future of Storytelling Festival

New York City’s Future of StoryTelling Festival explores how cutting-edge technology is putting audiences at the center of the action.

Hosted annually since 2013, the Future of Storytelling is a two-day invitation-only gathering of 500 leaders from the worlds of business, technology, media, and the arts.

Their goal of the summit is to document how storytelling is evolving with technology and creating new ways to create, share and experience story in the digital age.

Here are some of the best talks from the summit:

1. Paul Zak: Empathy, Neurochemistry, and the Dramatic Arc

Dr. Paul Zak explains his finding that the simplest narrative, if it is highly engaging and follows the classic dramatic arc, can evoke powerful empathic responses associated with specific neurochemicals, namely cortisol and oxytocin.


2. Jennifer Aaker: Persuasion and the Power of Story

Jennifer Aaker studies happiness, and how stories can affect our happiness; she believes that stories are more important than ever before as persuasive tools in a world over-saturated with information.

3. Maria Popova: Wisdom in the Age of Information

We live in a world awash of information, but we seem to face a growing scarcity of wisdom and Maria Popova believes it’s the storyteller’s role to shape wisdom for the rest of the culture to share.

4. Beth Comstock: Personal Connection in Corporate Storytelling

Beth Comstock emphasizes that connecting with your audience through an authentic, personal story is a critical first step for any brand—you have to achieve “mind share”, which in the digital age translates into market share.

5. Beau Lotto: Understanding Perception and How We Experience the Meaning We Create

Beau Lotto’s research into perception has shown that we don’t see the real world—just our version of it. Our senses are telling us stories about the world—and we can control those stories to change our perceptions and ourselves.

6. Jonah Sachs: Story Wars And The Future of StoryTelling

The story wars are being waged all around us. They are the battles fought by companies, brands, causes, public figures, and individuals to be heard above the unprecedented noise of the post-broadcast, social-media-dominated era.

7. Nonny de la Pena : Journalism in the Age of Virtual Reality

Nonny de la Pena is an immersive journalism pioneer who uses virtual reality to tell nonfiction narratives. She utilizes 3D technology to create full-body, first-person documentary experience that evokes deeply emotional reactions.

8. Charles Spence: Sensploration

People are hungry for experiences that stimulate their different senses simultaneously. Our capacity for sensploration opens up possibilities for the ways in which marketing, design, and product development can be used to improve behavior and inspire better art.

9. Jake Barton: The Power of Collaborative Storytelling

From a July Fourth fireworks celebration to the moon landing to 9/11, events experienced together create a shared bond. The act of harnessing and shaping many disparate individual narratives into something greater than the sum of its parts is what collaborative storytelling is all about.

10. Joe Marchese: The Future of Advertising

Advertising is the economic engine that has traditionally underwritten much of the content we see. As digital enables people to shift how they consume media, the traditional advertising model is threatened.

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