Mike O’Bryan: Narrative Intelligence

Is it even possible to center humanity in our work and our systems?  We have become numb to the fact that so many of our government policies, social programs, and even corporate cultures exist to serve every other purpose but our shared humanity.  They fail to acknowledge that humans are complex and that we can’t compartmentalize inputs in order to get successful outputs. The solution is to become more developmentally informed to build systems and cultures that center humanity – while still being widely successful and profitable. 

My guest today talking about these big concepts as well as how they are relevant to the future of work is Michael O’Bryan. Mike shares what it means to be developmentally informed, what shared humanity means, and the real cost of dehumanization. He shares the difference between narrative and story and the influencers of human behavior. We discuss narrative intelligence and how the lack of it can lead to violence and racism like we saw in Buffalo, NY weeks ago. And how all of these concepts relate to the future of work and economic policies and systems. We go deep in this one, but I think you will love the conversation!

Key Takeaways:

  • You cannot have the wrong activities and produce the right outcomes. 
  • Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an activity. Belongingness is an outcome.
  • You tend to imagine more with pictures with the things that are close to you than the things that are distant from you. 
  •  It is to shape your children with narratives; it can take a minute to teach love or hate with an answer to a question.
  • The narratives that you hear shape you. We have to be more critical about what we are hearing, understanding the bias of where those narratives are coming from, and what it is costing us. 

You have got to be cognizant of the fact that you will meet narratives and stories about groups of people before you ever meaningfully engage in a relationship with them.” Mike O’Bryan

About Michael O’Bryan + Founder/CEO:

Michael O’Bryan is a practitioner and researcher in the fields of community development, organizational culture, and human well-being. He is a Distinguished Resident Fellow at The Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University where he is building a research lab focused on the future of work, economic policies, and systems through the lens of developmental science and social equity. Michael is also the founder of Humanature, a design strategy firm working with a mission of supporting organizations and leaders in centering humanity in the context of their work. Past and current clients include NeighborWorks America, The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, New Jersey Community Capital, Strada Education Network, The Opportunity Finance Network, and The United Negro College Fund. Michael has spoken about his work at such venues as Cornell University’s Institute on Employment and Disability, SOCAP, and the Apollo Theater in New York. He is on faculty in Career Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, a lecturer in city planning at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and most recently served on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Arts. Michael also serves on the boards of two philanthropic institutions in Philadelphia: the Samuel S. Fels Fund and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Connect with Michael O’Bryan

Website: https://www.humanature.works/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MisticQuest

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeobryan613/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.obryan25/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/books_and_ish/

Empathy Lab: https://www.empathylab.works/

Resources Mentioned:

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