The Art of the Pitch: Storytelling, Improvisation, and Prototyping for Creativity and Innovation

Ash Smith

CAT 125 Smith

“Entrepreneurship is the most extreme use of story.” -Robert McKee

“Those who tell the stories, rule the world.” -Plato and the Hopi Native American tribe

This course in public rhetoric and practical communication uses storytelling and design as a rhetorical strategy and gives students the opportunity to author their own relevant materials. We will examine how storytelling is used by start-up companies, crowdfunded projects, grant writers, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, songwriters, filmmakers, and the general public. We will think about the stories told by our performance of multiple selves and identities within social networks, on- and offline. We will look at a range of storytelling from those with corporate agendas to the more experimental, ethnographic, or activist projects and consider the audiences of each. We will engage in techniques from design thinking as an approach to spur creativity and even partake in our own incubator think tank experiment in order to become better at collaborative and interdisciplinary innovation. We will study techniques from improvisation in order to become better on the fly. By the end of the course you will have a toolbox of strategies as well as have created a portfolio of writing, prototypes, and digital media projects that you will be able to use towards your own goals as you continue past your undergraduate degree.