Inspiration for Working Out Loud

It’s International Working Out Loud Week, also known as #WOLWeek. Working Out Loud is a relatively new term for me, picking it up from John Stepper in 2012. I have used the term, narrating your work, which to me is the same thing, though some may differ. My observation is that combining transparency (in the workplace) with narration (of work) results in increased serendipity, or more chances of fortuitous outcomes. My own working out loud on this blog has resulted in speaking opportunities and meeting interesting clients. The more you give, the more you get; though not in any way how you may have expected it.

Simon Terry recently asked me, “Who inspires you to practice and learn as you work out loud?”

Initial inspiration (2004) for PKM came from Lilia Efimova, whose blog was a view on her doctoral research into knowledge-sharing. Without Lilia’s insight, I may not have started on this decade-long sense-making journey.

Dave Snowden’s views on complexity and knowledge management have informed much of my work, and I have watched his thoughts evolve over time, shared through his blog. I believe I found Dave through either Rob Paterson or Jon Husband, two fellow travelers along the road, freely sharing their experiences.

My biggest inspiration has been the hundreds, and now thousands, of bloggers who have shared their thoughts and actions. The list is too long, but if you have been reading my blog, you will know who has inspired my thinking. Just follow the links. The examples of so many others has made it much easier to continue working and learning out loud in this little corner of what used to be called the blogosphere. I owe everything to my blog and the ability to participate out loud in a worldwide network.

I also looked through my bookmarks to see what I have been inspired to collect on the topic of narration and WoL.

Glyn Moody: Thinking and Working Out Loud (2006)

In fact, I’d go further: blogging has become my notebook and general repository of digital bits and bobs. Whenever I find something of interest (to me), I usually bung it up; I hope that it will be of interest to others, but that’s really secondary. A blog is as much a very practical tool for my everyday work as an exercise in itself.

Dan Brodnitz: An Interview with Bob Holman (2007)

Well, you don’t even have to work out loud to hear. Do you see words pop up in front of your head? Only when I heard the poet Robert Creeley read did that work for me, because he placed each word in the air the way his words are placed on the page. Generally, as Whitman and Ginsberg have stated, the line in a poem equates to the breath. It is a physical thing. What I’m doing when I’m writing is, I’m hearing the words. Even if I’m not talking, I’m listening as I’m creating.

Dave Weinberger: Public Learning (2012)

Software developers have created an incredible educational environment for themselves that supports the idea of “public learning”…learning in a way that simultaneously makes the environment smarter.

John Tropea: There’s no need to report on what you’ve been doing (2013)

So let’s be clear on this … Your colleague is not “informing you” of the latest happenings on the task by leaving a reply on the task object. eg “so I contacted IT, they did this for me, but it wasn’t right, so we did this instead, and it worked”. This is what we are used to, whether we hear it on the phone, read it in an email, or read it on a social software status update

Instead your colleague is executing the raw work (conversations) on the task object. And you witness the conversation unfold. You don’t need your colleague to report to you a bunch of stuff they did, cause you witnessed all those bits in that bunch as it happened.

There’s no need to report on what you’ve been doing, when we’ve seen you doing it.

So why do we need meetings anyway?



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