Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
— Robert McKee

MindRising is first and foremost about storytelling. Stories power the world we live in, they help us imagine and create new futures, it's how we capture and translate ideas and how we share experiences with others. We humans are social creatures we love the company of others and we share our lives using stories. It turns out that stories one of the best ways to transmit information and values from one person to the next. Stories that create emotions in others are by far the most powerful and most memorable.

In MindRising We tell stories using various creative technologies Minecraft, Sway and Video. One of the struggles we've had in explaining MindRising is that we barely get the word Minecraft out of our mouths before children have launched the tool and blocks are being laid. Our challenge is to help you tell your stories. And so we bring you the Minimum Lovable Story Canvas inspired by a variety of tools in our toolbox today and with some naming assistance  from the Happy Startup school. This is about creating stories people will love and if the judges love them then you have a better chance of winning the competition.

Minimum Lovable Story

Minimum Lovable Story

MindRising was born out a collision of many ideas and many worlds. In our other work Alan and I use the power of story to help people envision new futures for themselves and their organizations. As a part of this we use many tools to help people focus on the important aspects of the story. Who will like this story, how will they feel, how do you want them to feel. As a startup we're also focused on explaining to the world what makes us unique, interesting and why what we're doing is important. So where do we get started.

The canvas contains 9 panels that help you think through the story you are trying to tell. This also acts as a guide to help you navigate the many twists and turns as you begin to explore and build the story.

Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it it’s not all mixed up.
— Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh

Minimum lovable story

MINIMUM: What's the smallest thing you can create that will be interesting for your audience?

LOVABLE: What can you create that your audience will love?

STORY: What story are you telling? Past/Present/Future - Person, Place, Theme, Event, Trend, Idea


There isn't a right or wrong approach to to creating a Minimum Lovable Story. However we suggest that following the order outlined below will make most sense. This starts with the Audience. The other point is that this isn't something that's really ever finished; the canvas evolves with the story, helping to clarify things as they are encountered.  

THE FrontStage

1 Audience

Stories create links and connections to people, places, and ideas. When you are thinking about your MindRising story think first about who the is story for.


  • Who will be your first fan? What's their name? Who are they? Are they old or young?  [Personas]
  • Who will love your story? Why will they love it?
  • Who will dislike your story? Why?
  • Will your story appeal to everyone or just some? Why?
  • What job does your story do for your audience? [jobs]

2 What's the big idea?

You need a really strong core idea to hang the story on. All good stories have some really compelling core theme or idea. Make the idea VIVID use words and pictures to explain your idea. Try using Q&I to generate some ideas. 


  • What's the idea?
  • What's unique and cool? 
  • What's the hook?
  • Can you explain the core idea in a tweet?
  • Can you explain the core idea in less than 60 seconds?
  • Can you explain the idea using mime?

3 Emotions & Reactions

Good stories create emotions in your audience. You make them feel something and as a result it's easier to retain their attention and easier for them to create memories.


  • How do you want your audience to feel?
  • What emotions will your story create? 
  • Will different audience members feel different emotions?
  • What reactions to you expect to the story?

4 Medium & Style

We've asked you to use Minecraft, Sway and Video to tell your story, after that it's up to you. You could follow the lead of @CBSJuniors we were blown away by their Grace video re-enacting the characters from the song Grace along with a beautiful musical accompaniment. Or the 1916 Easter Rising Comic created by . Both incredibly different in terms of approach but right on the money from a MindRising perspective. 


  • What does the team like? [Run a quick Q&I]
  • What genre will your story fit into? 
    • Action & Adventure
    • Comedy
    • Crime
    • Drama
    • Fantasy
    • Historical
    • Political
    • Romance
    • Science fiction
    • Slice of Life
    • Urban
  • What medium will you use? Film, Play, Book, Comic


The left hand side of the canvas is about your team, your mission, people who can help you and what you will need to create your amazing story.

5 Mission

Your team needs to agree why you are doing this. If we're all pulling in different directions we'll never achieve anything. Your job is to define the goals for the group.


  • What are my goals for entering MindRising? [goal gathering]
  • What goals do I share with others?
  • What goals are nice but not necessary?
  • What goals must be achieved?


Now that you've defined the goal the chances are that some people may have decided to pursue a different story and set of goals. Whoever you have left is the right people! You also need to decide or evaluate what tools you have and what you will need. What version of MineCraft, what


  • What are your teams superhero names & masks? [superheroes]
  • What are your teams skills? [madskillz]
  • What skills help you create the story?
  • What version of Minecraft? EDU, Regular, Console, PE

7 Helpers

Asking for and finding help is something we all do. In this case we're trying to find out who are the helpers who can enable us to tell a better story. This could be a parent, relative, friend, or someone who has some information you think you need.


  • Who do you know who has information about to help your story? [Web of Helpers]
  • Who do you know who has something you can use to make your story cool?

8 Time // Place // THings

You need to find time to create this wonderful story. You need a place to meet physically and/or virtually. You need some things setup possibly by a parent, friend or the MindRising team.


  • What time will we work on this? In class, after school, at lunch, weekends
  • Where will we meet and work? Virtual - Minecraft Server, Console // Physical - class, dojo, club
  • Do we have or need a Minecraft Server? [contact]
  • Do we have Microsoft Live accounts to access Sway?
  • Do we need software installed? Minecraft, Screencast-o-matic etc.

9 Purpose // Fun // Learning

Finally - equal parts purpose // pleasure (fun) // learning. MindRising is about learning by telling amazing stories using cool tools. This section of the canvas helps clarify the 


  • What will I/did I learn? [learning assessment]
  • How do I achieve my goals?
  • What's fun about this process?



Remember this is just a tool to help you clarify your story; it doesn't have to be right but it should make things easier. Have fun!!!

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — “Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.
— John Steinbeck