I’m looking for examples of good storytelling within and about organisations. Mostly you find the CEO has written an autobiography or someone has written his/her (mostly his) biography. My hunch is that historians of the present and future will look to blogs and tweets, social media and digital traces for clues and a way of deciphering changes in strategy or direction. But what of intranets? Or internal oral history projects? Memories of employees past and present? History from below? How will they be found? We can’t just rely on Google.
I’ve been looking at an interview, or more precisely, piece to camera that Frank Gillard lay down for his own BBC Oral History project. He is very lucid about his own role as a BBC employee and the terms under which he conducted the interviews. It was recorded in 1995 and feels like another age. The BBC is making excerpts available under its 100 Voices page
I have now recorded some interviews for this same archive. Looking at the period from 1994 to 2014. But I’m not concentrating on the people at the top of the organisation or politicians like Frank Gillard. Rather trying to choose people who , whilst not voiceless, may not historically have been chosen for such an archive. I did also go to the then top. You have to to understand the BBC . What is interesting about this period and the subject I am looking at – how the BBC became aware of the World Wide Web and the internet and what it did about it is how a rather divergent group of people could unite around the implications of a new technology and create clusters of interest which would, eventually , get together and get the organisation moving. I only realised after interviewing Professor Lizzie Jackson that she is related to Frank Gillard. Which is a nice piece of history in its own right.