Solutions: Using storyline patterns


Thank you for taking the time to watch the video and complete the concept challenge on using storyline patterns. Here are the solutions and some suggestions to help you apply these ideas in practice.

Davina and Gerard


1. How might storyline patterns help you? 
All but the second option are correct. Patterns are powerful clarity boosters that can kick-start your thinking, save you time, and give you confidence your structure will be logically robust. They will not stop you needing to think! However, when you are starting to think about what to do to get ready to build your storyline, it helps enormously to identify a pattern that might fit your circumstance.

2. How do these patterns help you ensure your storyline is logically sound?
All of the above. The patterns themselves are all supported by robust logic (either a grouping or deductive argument), are complete with all the necessary components, and can guide you in creating your own storyline. They can keep you on the straight and narrow!

3. What types of storyline structures are included in the neosi patterns?
Both inductive groupings and deductive arguments are included.

4. Can you think of an upcoming piece of work for which you could use a pattern?
Of course there is no right or wrong answer here, but if you cannot think of how to use the patterns, please get in touch with us and we will give you some further guidance. If you do use a pattern, we would love to hear how it helped you.

5. What type of pattern would be useful for this piece of work? and,
6. What sort of document will this be for?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer. There are several templates for each situation; for instance for an Alert, you may wish to prepare a storyline highlighting the emerging problem, or one explaining why you should respond to the emerging problem, or, one explaining how you should respond to the emerging problem.

The patterns are saved in the ‘New Storyline' folder of neosi. Look through the list to find the situation and then (under ‘snapshot') the specific template that best fits your circumstance. Download the template and you will have some prompts to guide your thinking and help you create your own storyline.

7. Would it be helpful if we created more patterns? If so, what topics would help you?
We would love to hear from you! Let us know how we could help you by emailing us at



Patterns are enormously powerful when helping you both start using storylining as well as when you are experienced and need a short cut. Here are some ways that we find them particularly useful:

  1. Start with the neosi pattern snapshots: When I know what type of story I need to tell (e.g., is it a proposal, a business case or a compliance story, etc), I go straight to neosi and look at the snapshot. This helps me work out whether I need to use a deductive or grouping structure and to refine what my objectives are. Do I need to persuade my audience of something here, do I need to tell them how something needs to be done? Or … is it both of these things within one story?
  2. Be guided by the storyline pattern prompts but not beholden to them: As my story starts to take shape I find that I sometimes need to revisit my purpose, which will of course change my story. For example, recently I was helping an internal audit team prepare a routine annual review of their enterprise risk management capabilities. The initial thought was that this was to update the board on their status, which led us to start with a compliance story. However, we quickly worked out that it was going to become a recommendation: the team not only had observations about real weaknesses in the company's enterprise risk management approach, but some thoughts on how to fix it. We stopped and started fresh with a new template.
  3. Revert to the Ten Point Test: when the story looks like it is mapped out as a one-page storyline, go to the Ten Point Test and check whether it really works. Even though yo have started with a template, don't assume that this has done all of the work for you. It is important to come back to first principles after you and your team have pulled their thoughts together. You  can download one here if you don't have one close by.




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