Birds on a wire frame an aeroplane in the sky

Source: Ingrid Taylar on Flickr

Commencing today is International Working Out Loud Week, running from 16 November – 22 November 2015. We’ll be sharing purposeful activities over the course of the week to help guide you in working out loud (WOL) with intent to both add and gain value in your organisation. Today, we look at what it means, and why we think it’s worthwhile.

What is Working Out Loud (WOL)?

Bryce Williams described it back in 2010 as a formula: “Working Out Loud = Observable Work + Narrating Your Work”. Simply put, working out loud means creating, editing and storing your work in places accessible and viewable by others – for example within a SharePoint document library or wiki – as well as sharing your work using platforms such as your organisation’s enterprise social network, internal blogs, and enterprise wikis. It means openness by default, and the development of a ‘sharing mindset’.

What does it mean to WOL with intent?

In his post on “The 5 Elements of Working Out Loud“, John Stepper builds upon Bryce Williams’ definition of WOL and states “Working out loud is meant to be purposeful – to help you get things done and make work better.” Missing from many discussions about working out loud we come across is consideration of this purposefulness of WOL, and how we can do so with intent in our organisations.

WOL is so much more than simply sharing our calendars or task lists, and while the simple act of sharing can be a great place to start, if we are to add and gain value we must take a more mature approach. We must move beyond an internal horizon – one in which we focus upon the impact on ourselves and our immediate surrounds – to an external horizon, one in which we consider the impact on others more broadly.

Why WOL?

The potential benefits to ourselves, our peers and colleagues, and our organisations are many. These include the discovery of duplication, alignment of work, collaboration across projects, and personal and professional development. At a minimum, working out loud with intent forces us to consider the value of our work and insights to others, and to curate and share judiciously.

Getting started

Today we’ve talked about the whats and whys of WOL. Tomorrow we’ll post the first of our ‘Working Out Loud with Intent’ activities for the week, designed to guide you in WOL with intent in your organisation. You may also like to follow or join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #WOLweek.


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