John Stepper explains “Working out loud”


A great explanation from John Stepper about how we use social business platforms for “working out loud”, “observable work” and “narrating your work” in the workplace. These are simple but powerful ideas that underpin the value of social intranets and enterprise social networks.

He writes in his introduction (emphasis added):

Two of the most common objections I hear are “I don’t have enough time” and “I don’t know what to post.” That’s because people often think of using a collaboration platform as an extra thing to do. An additional way to communicate.

And people at work are already overloaded: email, phone, voice mail, mobile phone, mobile phone voice mail, instant messenger, group chat, desktop video, desktop video messages.

The last thing anyone wants is Yet Another Communications Channel.

So, instead of focusing on communicating in new ways, it’s important that collaboration and contribution is in line with the work people do every day.

And no, its not about describing what you are having for lunch, although certainly even social business tools should also be used to let people socialise. After all, that’s how people build social capital when they work face-to-face. Working out load and observable work can also be created from activity in systems, not just posting a statement about what you are working on.

Probably the only other concepts I’d highlight as part of this is the shift from open by exception to open by default or alternatively, from gather then share to share then gather.