We talked to Cheryl Clemons on how StoryTagger is the most authentic way to crowdsource knowledge from people, and this is what she had to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Cheryl Clemons: We’re good, thanks! I have twin boys who are fifteen, and they’ve been very independent over the last year, moving between remote and homeschooling in the UK. I’m proud of how they’ve coped. I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I am grateful to online gaming for providing a source of focus for their friend groups and social interaction, even during the most stringent lockdowns. Workwise we were already big advocates of flexible working, so shifting to a distributed working model was fast and straightforward. The StoryTagger team has been excellent.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded StoryTagger?
Cheryl Clemons: I’m the CEO of StoryTagger, a user-generated video storytelling tool that guides people to reflect and share high value, concise knowledge, and experiences for work and education. Having worked in digital media and learning for a long time, I set up a consultancy in 2013, with my co-founder Carl Hodler, to promote and enable progressive learning cultures. StoryTagger grew out of our work in this field during 2017, and we’ve since hard-baked all of our expertise into the product, which is now our sole focus.
How does StoryTagger innovate?
Cheryl Clemons: We’ve made some considerable advances in the combined area of agile knowledge sharing and employee-generated video to crack the nut of getting valuable knowledge out of people’s heads. Most of us find it hard to translate experiences and expertise into ready-to-share assets. While the video is an important tool for the enterprise, it’s traditionally been too expensive and time-consuming to capture individual stories at scale from wherever people are working. We’ve been able to democratize this process we’re very proud of, and we’re fortunate to have some fantastic, collaborative customers who push our technology in ever-innovative directions.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Cheryl Clemons: StoryTagger is a tool that directly supports both knowledge and frontline workers, so we’ve seen a significant uptake during 2020 – we’re pleased to help customers enable their teams to share critical updates, expertise, and only personal experiences of how they’re getting on. It’s interesting how the pandemic has changed how people talk about how they’re feeling. This year has shown that it’s ok not to be ok. There is an openness and keenness to share experiences, and many businesses have encouraged high levels of peer and corporate support.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Cheryl Clemons: At times, yes, but in most cases, they were no brainers. We love our customers and, of course, many were having a hard time. With colleagues on furlough (a system in the UK where the government compensates businesses for people on temporary leave) during COVID, those left in work were operating at a busier, more intense level than ever before. With many industries struggling and budgets reduced, we offered plan extensions. We kept our plans at 2019 prices even though we had just completed a significant development phase on the platform. Our customers appreciated this, and it was fantastic to offer even more value at the same cost.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and StoryTagger in the future?
Cheryl Clemons: On a personal level, I meditate, run, and whatever happens, I try to learn and improve due to any given situation. You can’t break new ground and deliver value for customers without continually evaluating, learning, and improving the product according to what people need. This is not only in terms of how it makes a difference to organizations but also how it positively impacts the individuals who use it.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Cheryl Clemons: Competition is an interesting one for us, and we love being asked that question. The most obvious competition is ‘Free.’ Why wouldn’t we film ourselves using our phone camera? Well, of course, we can, but through all of our testing and experiments, we’ve discovered people find structuring their thoughts into an on-topic, short, and excellent quality video tough plus, organizations need to do this at scale and have data security challenges to think about.
Your final thoughts?
Cheryl Clemons: There is a strong business case for individuals sharing their stories and experiences at work. Fundamentally, consciously reflecting and articulating know-how can help us solve difficult challenges and improve workplace performance. By sharing the struggle and our lessons learned alongside our successes and achievements, we can individually make a collective difference. We need this now more than ever.
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