Our journey to digital transformation by Working Out Loud



With the huge successes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. has emerged a rapid, evolution of online networking, trusting opinions, sharing right-here-right-now, our thoughts with photos and videos.

This behaviour is becoming increasingly popular inside organisations by using an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) such as Yammer, Jive and Slack to support strategies, projects, tasks and encourage employee engagement, empowerment and advocacy.

The phrase “Working Out Loud” is gathering momentum to describe this change behaviour. Check out Rachel Miller’s popular blog neatly summarising How to Work Out Loud #wol by John Stepper. It asks you these three growth mindset questions: What am I trying to accomplish? Who can help me? How can I contribute to them to deepen our relationship?

My journey to “Working Out Loud” is a story of personal development, openness and helping to improve the way we work. I joined Glaxo, a global healthcare company, in 1991.

Does this ring any bells…? I used a huge WANG computer with floppy disks.  Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and emails were replacing fax. “Surfing the Internet” became a new idiom.  I created some of the company’s first Microsoft FrontPage intranets. I became fascinated about how to speed up laborious office tasks.

It was 10 years ago when I first used Facebook “for work” – to stay connected to some great people I met whilst on a course in the US.  Success was about sharing and building on our collective knowledge and retaining new friendships. So we turned to Facebook and it’s been instrumental in retaining these connections – and, as we have all experienced, it’s so much more!

By the way, Facebook at Work is currently in beta test so you can clearly see how the power of social networking is influencing the future of work.

In parallel at that time, Glaxo (now GSK) also launched numerous internal social networks ‘vertically’ driven by “command and control” business silos. Over time I became passionate about ESN business value and was appointed as the Corporate Comms Yammer Community Manager. I’m proud of the work I did in this role in partnership with GSK IT, and the GSK Brand Team to make Yammer the sustainable network it is today.

Today, whatever ESN you use, success is about approaching it with the right mindset. For me, it’s Working Out Loud in A Network #wolan

wolan model-MAY2016

My #wolan framework expands on John Stepper’s Working Out Loud mindset and how it can practically be adopted inside organisations working towards digital transformation. #wolan is now endorsed by Microsoft, Digital Workplace Group (DWG) and GSK’s German Works Council.

Let me explain what #wolan can do for your business.  It can help to decrease email dependency; position the ESN business case; create ESN governance; enable ESN adoption; align ESN to strategies & projects and ultimately business value; highlights ESN sustainable success stories; demonstrate your company culture – behaviours and values; demonstrates how ESN can be embedded into apps, processes, systems and tasks; raises the relevance of “business intelligent” hash tags, and a template to create your own framework.

Whilst at GSK and since leaving last year, I’ve experienced and documented the benefits of digital transformation enabled by ESNs in a series of blogs. These explained how you can shift employees from sending random emails with a handful of colleagues and operating in vertical silos to operating in horizontal ESNs that help to generously share work with a purpose, encourage serendipity and offer better ways of working that demonstrate business value.

Look at these ESN success stories in a Sales Team, HR, Factory network, Fundraising, small project teams to employee engagement, advocacy tactics, campaigns and strategies. There is pretty much something for every sector, and scalable to help you on your journey to “Working Out Loud”. Here’s just a snippet of senior leader feedback from these great success stories.


Comms “Yammer has been without a doubt the “hero” channel for our employee fundraising. An incredible opportunity for any engagement/advocacy programme, as it enables real time collaboration, healthy competition and celebration of fundraising activities and sharing success fast! Yammer can reach everyone in the company and cuts through the communications noise. It has taken us well beyond one-way push communications and PowerPoint!”  Director, Global Communications & Government Affairs


HR “Our Yammer On-Boarding group is a great way to connect new hires with those that have just joined before them and SMEs. Nip and nurture new hires in the bud to encourage a collaborative culture and mind-set.” VP, HR Operations


If you’re interested in finding out more about Working Out Loud, come along to one of these forthcoming events:

16 May: IABC UK – Future Fit Communications

5-8 June: IABC World Conference, New Orleans join IABC President NSW Australia, Mark Woodrow, “Working Out Loud” session. Mark is a former Yammer Customer Success Manager.

TBC August: I am working with Kirsty Brown on an event with digital transformation expert Allison Maguire, and Employee Engagement Alliance (EEA) on “Working Out Loud”.

Lesley Crook is a Digital Transformation Consultant

Overcome barriers to innovation with Disruptive Thinking

This is a summary of our recent event – Overcoming Barriers to Innovation, where we talked about disruptive thinking.

As communications professionals, we often see innovation as happening elsewhere – ideas and initiatives created by other teams or outsourced to agencies rather than bringing creativity into their everyday workplace. IABC UK members, friends and guests came together in Circus Communications’ gallery on Tuesday to change this and to disrupt our own thinking.


UK chapter president Tessa O’Neill opened the panel debate offering three messages communicators should keep in mind to overcome barriers to innovation:

  • the communications function is primed to innovate because it’s in a privileged situation of having oversight about so many internal and external stakeholders
  • innovation provides an opportunity for communications to take leadership
  • innovation allows communications to be creative

Moderated by Circus Communications’ Louise Barfield, the high-profile panel kicked off the debate.

The IABC’s own punk rocker and communications consultant Ezri Carlebach set the motto for the discussion by highlighting what innovation and punk rock have in common: they want to provoke a reaction – “punk did more to invigorate the UK economy than Margaret Thatcher and her deregulation policies”.

Dik Veenman, founder of The Right Conversation, reminded us that innovation exists in all organisations but that it is too often processed out in a rush to judgment.

Gorkan Ahmetoglu, business and consumer psychologist and Director of Digital Enterprise at Goldsmiths College, approached the topic from a psychology angle and shared his insight into the environment that influences innovation and creativity: “It is a problem for innovation when failed ideas are not rewarded or even punished. Leadership values that encourage creative thinking are needed“.

Cesar Lastra, innovation expert and international speaker, chimed in and emphasised the importance of creating a culture of belief and strategy that allows innovation to happen – “ innovation isn’t a job description, it’s a culture”.

Consequently, three themes emerged as the keys to innovation: People, Environment they are working in, and How we talk to each other within that environment.

Panelists and the audience bounced ideas off each other in an engaging debate discussing where innovation came from.
Great quotes of the day:

  • “100 years ago innovation was called art”
  • “before it was called innovation, it was called muse”

The speakers agreed that something is innovative only if it creates something new and adds value, and wondered whether the introduction of KPIs and other measurement killed innovation. Knowing your purpose and what you are good at was also deemed important to identify which kind of innovation will drive your business forward.

Cesar Lastra: “don’t act as if you have to be the next Apple

Time flew by and over a final glass of wine and some snacks everyone agreed that communicators are indeed in a prime position to drive innovation and should continue to work to overcome the barriers to innovation and creativity and place them at the heart of communications.

View pictures from the event on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iabcuk/


A big Thank You goes to all speakers and the IABC UK team for organising this inspiring event.

Kristin Heume

Article written by Kristin Heume
LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/kristinheume/en
Twitter: @kheume



Check our Twitter feed during the event via #innochat @iabcuk



Our panel of speakers:

Cesar Lastra – Innovation expert and international speaker. Cesar Lastra is a London-based independent consultant who has been based in the US, Latin America and Europe in FMCG and agency roles, from where he has developed a unique expertise combining strategy, insights, marketing capability and ideation.

Dik Veenman – Founder of The Right Conversation and expert in dialogue and effective team conversations, including brainstorms. Dik has 20 years experience as a communication consultant, including MD of pioneering internal communication agency Smythe Dorward Lambert in the 1990’s. He is a qualified Executive Coach and has extensive experience of enabling conversations at all levels for a wide range of organisations in many different geographies. Dik has an MBA from London Business School and a degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College. In his spare time he mentors troubled teenagers.

Ezri Carlebach – Innovation consultant, writer and lecturer. Watch a story-telling workshop video conducted by Ezri.

Gorkan Ahmetoglu – Business and consumer psychologist and Director of Digital Enterprise at Goldsmiths College. Gorkan’s pioneering research on Entrepreneurship was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and he is also active in the areas of leadership, behavioural economics, and consumer psychology. Despite his relatively short academic career, Gorkan has already published numerous research articles in scientific journals, and his first book, Personality 101, will be published later this year. Gorkan is an associate of Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab.