We all know the story of Paris, the city of love, or New York, the city that never sleeps, but what about a small city like Wilmington, Delaware? Or Manchester, New Hampshire?
Are they too small to have a story? Certainly not.
Smaller places may have legendary stories around wine making, rock climbing, or cycling.
While many cities lack a compelling natural feature that could help tell the story, there is an opportunity for leaders to create the new story. By investing in arts, community, education, recreation, health. There are countless ways to do something well enough that the story gets out.
In fact, it’s probably better to be well known for one or two things, and lag on the others than it would be to stay mediocre on all facets. If you have one strong redeeming quality, that can attract growth and resources that can go on to fund the lagging operations.
The the wrong path is to play it safe. To not pick something. To try to please everyone.
So if we need a story, the question is how you figure out what the story is. I suspect the only way to do it is by listening to people, generating ideas with them and repeating that process over and over until you see convergence.
I would love to see examples of where that process has been done because so many places need it. And they needed it yesterday.