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Why we think working out loud is really bloody important

By Carrie Kleiner for Box News

Sorry for (sort of) swearing. But sometimes, when you feel really passionate about something, a little mini expletive slips out.

And, when it comes to the practice of working out loud, I’m very passionate indeed. When I look ahead and see how the world is developing and changing, and how our expectations grow and change too, it’s easy for me to see why this practice is so important.

What I mean when I say working out loud

I first really learned about this practice when I worked as Head of Editorial at Government Digital Service – the part of the government responsible for transforming GOV.UK (amongst lots of other things).

There, our ‘charismatic leader’ (as we so fondly called him) Mike Bracken and his incredible team introduced the ‘publish don’t send’ rule. This basically meant that you had to stop before you sent someone an email and think – could I publish this information instead?

GDS’s only form of public communication was their blog (which I ran), and we took this idea as far as we could (within the parameters of the official secrets act).

Working out loud is precisely that – as you’re working, you share your thought processes, ideas, challenges, successes (and, crucially, failures too) with the big wide world. This helps with accountability, allows others to see what you’re doing and help if they can, and – even more importantly – it grows trust.

Trust makes the world go round

Working in government, you learn that trust is a pretty hard thing to get and an even harder thing to keep.

At GDS, working out loud was a way of us showing how, and why, we were making the choices we were. One affecting the lives of millions of people in one way or another. It was important to us that we showed our thought processes, but it had an added unexpected bonus: significantly reducing any negative press, speculation and questioning around our work. Because, essentially, we were answering questions and dispelling doubts before they happened.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Why this matters for us at Box Media

Ok, so Box isn’t a government department. And we are less likely to be hounded by the press (we hope!). But, it’s still important for us to share the way we work in the open.

Education is at the heart of our passion here at Box. We want to find a million ways to educate a billion people through enrapturing and immersive entertainment. We also want to share our expertise with anyone and everyone interested.

Giving away all our secrets

When you broach the subject of working out loud, some people immediately worry that you’d be giving away information or expertise that you could (or should) get paid for. Sure, by sharing the way you work, you might give a pretty decent indication about the way you do things, but for us, that’s a small price to pay compared with the benefits.

At Box, we’re all experts in our field. We’ve carefully hired the best and brightest minds we can find, so why not share a bit of that knowledge? We’re confident enough in our unique abilities not to feel threatened by sharing – we see it much more as an opportunity.

This sharing opportunity allows others to see what we do, understand our values and ethos, and decide for themselves if they’d like to work with (or for) Box Media.

How cool is that?

Just by sharing our ideas, processes, challenges and successes, we can build our business and find the right people to work with.

So, this is a bit of a call to action to ourselves. By writing this article, we’re committing to working out loud as much as possible in 2020.

If there’s something we do you’d like us to share out loud – get in touch @BoxMedia_io.