Working out loud

Our new found ability to share thinking and insights so readily using our online tools is key to solving some of our biggest challenges. Our problems are too big for single individuals or isolated organisations to deal with. As I wrote in a previous post we have to get better at working things out together. The hard bit is that this involves working out loud which can feel scary and challenging.

I am currently reading Jane Bozarth’s excellent book on the subject, Show Your Work in which she touches on the individual and organisational challenges of sharing your work as you do it. Sharing while it is still rough, while you are making mistakes, when it never gets finished or never quite achieves success. Doing this is raw and challenging but it is is how real learning happens. It is a million miles from the sanitised case studies that I occasionally rant about or the pernicious idea of “best practice”.

In his wonderful commencement address for Simmons University David Weinberger writes of the importance of not knowing all the answers. Of being vulnerable and brave enough to feel out of our depth. Working out loud involves doing this in public, exposing our thoughts before they are fully formed, opening ourselves to dissent and difference while we are still feeling raw and unsure.

All of this feels scary, I feel it when I write these posts, but it feels real and so much more powerful than the controlled and measured means of learning that we are more comfortable with.

7 thoughts on “Working out loud

  1. Ya, feels so because it is. We’ve heard so much about ‘authenticity’ over the past decade or so. This process you describe feels that way because it is so much closer to the way people actually talk, read-watch-listen, talk some more, and actually learn things and get stuff done. It doesn’t have the same dynamics as following a sequential set of tasks typed into a job description that one is to follow / enact, head down and concentrated, under supervision of some sort or other, from 9h00 until the end-of-day bell rings at 17h00.

    It’s more natural. It’s more real. It’s more effective. It puts the human more into the work, and the work more into the human.


  2. "" that one is to follow / enact, head down and concentrated, under supervision of some sort or other, from 9h00 until the end-of-day bell rings at 17h00. ""

    I exaggerate here of course, but I’m sure you get my point.


  3. It comes down to how we see learning as individuals I guess. Are we curious or are we waiting to be filled up with stuff? One never stops, the other is done to is 9 to 5.


  4. Yes. The unfortunate issue, I think, is that many people are vibrant and have lively curiosity when they are not at work, but leave that at the entrance with their boots (figuratively if not literally) when they go to work. The workplace could be such a more lively, fun and invigorating place if only it were allowed to be, if jokes, dissent, emotions etc. were understood, tolerated, accepted. A more holistic and human environment, instead of an assembly line imposed on souls.


    1. Very often a sanitised version of events that leaves out the real learning and also just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean that it will for you.


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