Interview with Harold van Garderen about PNI in GloComNet conversations

About applications in government, care and the financial industry

After the interview with Cynthia Kurtz – the grand lady of PNI – it was Harold van Garderen’s turn in the GloComNet Conversation series to speak with Lex Hoogduin on applications of PNI. Those are manifold, too many to cover in one interview. That is why this interview concentrates on evaluation of public policy and citizen participation, on improving quality of care and management of ethics and reverse stress testing in the financial industry.

What do care, government and the financial industry have in common?

At first sight, these sectors have very few in common. Still there is a connection and that is that in the end all revolve around people and how they act and not around technology, policy or systems.

It turns out however that breaking through the barriers these form is a wicked problem. Rules, procedures, protocols and simply status are often roadblocks in the way of desired actions or change. Classic change-management tools like Plan-Check-Do-Act (PCDA) simple don’t work for that. And surveys don’t provide actionable insights to confidently base intervention on.

Building on Cynthia Kurtz

That is why in this interview we build upon what Cynthia said in the first interview. She talked about maximizing participation of people in all activities or the change proces (at 1m55s) and “the falling of the pokerface” (4m25). Cynthia:

The main value as I see it is that you can go out and you can ask people for their opinion and they will give you their – what I call their pokerface – what they are supposed to say. And people do this, you know, they have surveys and interviews and things. I’ve seem people do that, you can watch them, how they put their face together for you, you know.


But then, when you just go around that and say. OK, but you know can you tell me what happened, the last time you were at the doctor. Or what happened the last time you were unsure what to do, in a situation, maybe a choice that you were making? You can see people change. The sort of things they are telling you. Because sharing stories is a different modality of communication. It’s more authentic. It’s deeper. It goes deeper into our emotions and are the meaning that we have in things.


And so, when you talk to people in that way, you are getting something richer. And when you talk to lots of people in that way those patterns that build up, are much different than the survey questions.

It was against this backdrop that this interview took place.

Towards applications

In the introduction text GlocomNet writes:

In this interview in the GloComNet conversation series, Lex Hoogduin talks to Harold van Garderen of StoryConnect ( Harold stumbled into the field of social and narrative complexity when working on services innovation. It turned out to have many similarities with his PhD work on fractal aggregation processes.


In 2010 Harold started StoryConnect to develop Narrative Business Solutions that help organisations deal with a chaotic-complex-ordered world by helping them take smarter decisions and innovate under uncertain circumstances, based on insights and knowledge hidden in collective human observations and experiences.


Harold and Lex discuss the adoption of PNI for continuous evaluation, monitoring, improvement and innovation in the Healthcare, Banking and Government (Citizen Participation) sectors

In the interview Harold first describes how easy it was to make the switch from molecules to people given the many resemblances between modelling and simulating complex chemical systems and the work of Cynthia and colleagues on participatory approaches to work with narratives

A new path towards the future

Next he shares how StoryConnect helps customer organisation to share and work with experiences to reach they point where they want to change things and actually take action. They choose to take a new path without knowing exactly where it will lead them.

About half the interview is about application in healthcare, public policy and participation and the financial sector. We are not spoiling that by sharing the essence of that. So see for yourself ….

Disover the value of narrative

The last part of the interview covers how customers discovery the value and power of working with narratives. Applications develop over time. Some organisation start with a single project and repeat that periodically. For example to replace a yearly customer or employee survey.

Others choose to go into continuous mode as they want to monitor developments closely. The applications and the way they are implemented vary widely and are adapted to context and circumstances. Well, most of you already know that.

We are curious to learn you reaction and look forward to any questions about the interview between Harold and Lex. Have a look at our solutions page or contact us for more information.