The latest insights on narrative, storytelling and leadership in higher education.

John Simmons

Director and Programme Facilitator

John Simmons, through his books and consultancy, is widely considered the leading exponent of more expressive words as an essential element of communication for brands and organisations.

“For many years I worked in international identity companies, including Interbrand, helping organisations of all kinds to communicate more effectively. Increasingly I focused on what seemed to me the neglected aspect: language. Words matter. They are the means to engage with audiences.

I put my philosophy and practice into books such as The Invisible Grail and creative workshops named Dark Angels (after another of my books). Many people claim that their writing, and even their lives, have been transformed as a result. In recent years I have also had three novels published, most recently The Good Messenger, personal evidence of the power of storytelling.”

John’s blogs

  • The Essence

    The Essence

      What is at the heart of your university? How do the mission statement and language of your organisation impact upon your experience of what you do, let alone the experiences of your students, stakeholders …Read More »
  • Let’s think of an apple

    Let’s think of an apple

      Finding individuality amongst homogeneity. John Simmons explores how communication influences higher education’s approach to international strategies. A story inspired by a can of apple juice.   Flying to America the other week to run …Read More »
  • The strategic tale

    The strategic tale

    Shall we strategise or shall we tell a story? OK, let me tell you this story. Once, many years ago now, I ran a workshop for a group of senior managers at the BBC. The …Read More »
  • Come with an open mind

    Come with an open mind

    Come with an open mind. Come with an open heart. Isn’t that what we mean by education?   So why use language that shuts out emotion that makes no connection that speaks institution to institution …Read More »