We live in stories. That is, we are always in the process of trying to make sense of what is happening to us and around us. That process drives us – to vote, to go into the street and fight for a nation, to make changes in how we consume, or to do none of the above.
Political leadership that understands that stories, perceptions, values, ideas, culture are present wherever there is human activity have a powerful tool for understanding what drives both change and apathy.
There is no name more firmly associated with linking political power and values and ideas than that of Joseph Nye. He coined the term soft power, which is power that stems from the intangible sources such as “institutions, ideas, values, culture …” as he explains in The Future of Power.
Earlier this week, The Globalist published my article, How Power Really Works in the 21st Century: Beyond Soft, Hard and Smart. In it, I explain how, in a networked, information driven age, the power of symbols and ideas is always an important part of the strategic landscape. Nye’s insight that culture, ideas, perceptions, stories has been deeply assimilated into strategic thinking—a great tribute to him. But the insight has outgrown the categories that once described them. Continue reading