Seminars and Workshops

As a senior fellow at Columbia University School of the Arts, Frank heads two distinct initiatives. He is faculty director of the Strategic Storytelling seminar, presented by the School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, and he is the DSL’s awards director, having launched the Breakthroughs in Storytelling awards in 2016. He also leads private seminars and workshops for corporate and institutional clients and consults on brand identity issues.


Strategic Storytelling at Columbia

Storytelling is how we explain and make sense of the world. But today, with media-savvy audiences tuning out ads while seeking ever-more-immersive entertainment experiences, the way we need to communicate is changing. Cognitive science suggests that stories are typically more effective at reaching people than rational arguments. We need to view the world in narrative terms, not as a thesis to be argued or a pitch to be made but as a story to be told. Strategic Storytelling is an executive education seminar that shows how stories are used by leading brands, entertainment industry professionals, B2B providers and nonprofits—and what each of these can learn from the other.
Strategic Storytelling is currently on hiatus and will resume in 2024. For more information, please contact Frank.


Strategic Storytelling

Academic Symposia and Master Classes

In addition to his Columbia seminar, Frank leads master classes and workshops and takes part in conferences at academic institutions worldwide.

Mediengeist 2.0
Ukrainian project accelerator to counter Russian disinformation
Goethe-Institut and Kunsht
Stage 1: Training
September 2023

The Civic Imagination Challenge
Virtual orientation for the Imagine Forward Campaign to foster civic engagement and sustainable innovation
March 2023

Master Class in Narrative
Silbersalz Science & Media Institute
Media training program for European scientists
Documentary Campus gGmbH
March 2023

Invited participant, Role of Storytelling Workshop
Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum
July 15, 2022

Leader, Narrative Strategy Seminar
Zurich Centre for Creative Economies
Zurich University of the Arts
April 22-23, 2022


Speaker, Empathy and Immersion Symposium
Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation & Planning
New York, Feb. 1, 2019

Co-organizer and speaker
Cooper Hewitt-Columbia DSL Storytelling Salon
Cooper Hewitt,
Smithsonian Design Museum
New York, March 28, 2017

Scuola Holden

Leader, Strategic Storytelling Workshop
Scuola Holden
Turin, Nov. 2-4, 2016

Leader, roundtable discussion
Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Study Group
US Navy
Brooklyn, Sept. 11, 2014


Speaker, The Future of Content in a Publish-on-Demand World
MediaX at Stanford University
Palo Alto, Ca., Feb. 4-5, 2014

Politecnico Milano

Speaker and panelist, Notes for the Future Symposium
Semi di Futuro–150 Anni
Politecnico di Milano
Milan, Dec. 4, 2013

Invited participant, Think & Do Workshop: Re-envisioning the Home TV Experience
The Edison Project
USC Annenberg Innovation Lab
Los Angeles, Nov. 20, 2013

Beaumarchais SACD Orange

Master Class in Transmedia
Bourse Orange–formats innovants
L’association Beaumarchais–SACD
Paris, Nov. 4-5, 2013

Panelist, Futures of Entertainment 4
MIT Graduate Program in Comparative Media Studies
Cambridge, Mass., Nov. 20-21, 2009


Master Class in Literary Reportage
Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
New York University, October 2009

Private Workshops and Consulting

Frank leads private workshops tailored to the needs of select corporate and institutional clients. He also consults with agencies and their clients on brand identity issues: brand purpose, brand promise, brand narrative and brand voice. To see how this might work for you, please contact Frank.

Brand positioning and story creation for a client of BOND, the global brand and experience design agency.
Dec. 2021-Apr. 2022

Co-organizer and speaker
Digital Storytelling Training
AbbVie Global Medical Affairs
July 2021


Workshop leader, Communicating for Maximum Impact
UN Dept. of Economic & Social Affairs – Division for Public Institutions & Digital Government
UN Secretariat
New York, December 2019

Foresight Factory

Speaker, Customer Experience Entertainment Workshop
for a client of Foresight Factory, the global consumer trends agency
Geneva, January 2019

Pure Insurance

Narrative Thinking workshop
PURE Insurance
White Plains, N.Y., July 2018

Brand positioning and story creation for Siili Solutions, the Helsinki-based technology platform
Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018


Narrative Technology Workshop
Los Angeles, Dec. 4, 2015

Workshop co-leader
Digital Brand Storytelling and Writing Breakthrough Concepts
L’Oréal USA
New York, November 2015

Co-leader, Brand Stories Workshop
Future of Storytelling Summit
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Staten Island, N.Y., Oct. 7-8, 2015

Invited participant, Immersion and Transmedia Workshop for A&E Networks
New York, June 6, 2013

“Embracing Analog:
Why Physical Is Hot”

Co-author of a survey and trend report on attitudes about digital v. physical for JWT Intelligence
March 2013

Special issue of the fictional Millennium magazine for David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
42 Entertainment
Fall 2011

Keynote speaker
Johnson & Johnson Content Strategy Immersion workshop
Los Angeles, Aug. 1, 2011

Introduction to “The Pool Lane 2: Short-form Online Video,” a report on experiments in ad formats for web video from VivaKi, the digital advertising unit of Publicis Groupe
January 2011

Speaker and mentor, Sounds Digital conference and workshop
X Media Lab
London, April 16-18, 2010

Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab

The Digital Storytelling Lab at Columbia University School of the Arts is a next-generation media lab harnessing the arts, humanities and emergent technologies to tackle some of the world’s impossible problems through collaboration, experimentation, exploration and creativity.
Columbia DSL designs stories for the 21st century, building on a diverse range of creative and research practices while never losing sight of the power of a good story. It is a place of speculation, creativity, and collaboration between students and faculty from across the University. New stories are told here in fresh and unexpected ways.   Learn More…

The Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards

The DSL’s annual Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards celebrate the past year’s most innovative approaches to narrative. Launched in 2016 to spur creativity and further the Lab’s educational mission, the awards honor 12 signal achievements—the “Digital Dozen.” Out of these, the Breakthrough Award goes to the project in any field that best exemplifies the spirit of inventiveness at work today, while the Special Jury Prize is given at the discretion of the awards committee. Winners are chosen by an interdisciplinary jury of Lab members and university faculty. The awards aim to further digital media’s potential to break free of rigid, industrial-age classifications and evolve in ways that analog media could not.
Learn more about the Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards…


Breakthroughs in Storytelling