032c Dossier: WORKING OUT LOUD

A corporate strategy for a better career and life, appropriated for creative practice.
Originally published in 032c Issue #36 (Summer 2019).
In 2018, 032c introduced THE BIG FLAT NOW: the infinite plane on which our culture operates today. There is no future. There is no past. Music, art, technology, pop culture, and fashion have evaporated as well. Creative fields and the marketing machines that support them have been compressed into a unified thing called “content.” But it’s OK: THE BIG FLAT NOW is how cultural production looks in a networked society, and we can work with that. Unlocking its full potential requires new structures and languages for how we make and perceive “work.” ENTER ➡➡➡

Working Out Loud builds helpful relationships through generosity and interconnectivity. WOL uses networks to solve problems, strengthen communities, and enhance individual experience. WOL is the creation and celebration of the superpower that is collective knowledge. WOL is inclusive, and its fundamental principle is sharing.

Conceived by an American, John Stepper, WOL has infiltrated the practices and philosophies of a handful of industrial giants that have finally chosen to adapt to a digitized world. We can harness the principles of WOL for the cultural sphere. We can reclaim our productivity and embrace the borderlessness of creativity in the flattened present.

WOL responds to digital culture but is not technology dependent: it is liberation from Google and platform specificity. WOL is about externalizing our goals and overcoming fears about self-expression and artistic output. WOL responds to an innate need for the feelings of connection and confidence that have been eroded by technological acceleration. WOL enables the partnerships that are essential for creative innovation today, rejecting hierarchies and the limiting logic of give-and-take. WOL injects energy into the shared platform of creation that is THE BIG FLAT NOW.


It’s time to open your house of ideas to guests. You’ve been in there alone too long and your “carefully curated” intellectual home is starting to look like a hoarder lives there, paranoid about theft and scrutiny. Host a dinner party because it’s literally good for the space to move air and bodies through it – there’s nothing more oppressive than a house that’s not being lived in. Of course, hosting can be stressful, particularly if you don’t do it often. Like most things, it gets easier with practice: you get a feel for the right mix of guests and how to feed and entertain each one, and you worry less about people liking your cooking or having a good time – you know “it will be great” even if something’s overcooked. You even start to enjoy the process: you’ve got it under control but you’re not being controlling. You’re not worried about anyone breaking or taking something, or looking in your bathroom cabinet – there’s nothing in the house that you can’t replace, really. Some guests bring gifts or help you in the kitchen; others make conversation and connections, some of which might become lasting partnerships. You’ve invited someone who is new to town, someone you were intrigued by, and someone you haven’t seen in a while. You’re not expecting anyone to reciprocate with an invitation, because you’re enriched simply by opening your doors. This is the celebratory generosity of Working Out Loud, where you treasure the act of letting people in, without being precious about what they bring or take away.

032c Issue #36 dossier online:
Author, Working Out Loud: For a Better Career and Life (2015)
“Helping organizations be more open & collaborative. Helping people access more possibilities.” – @johnstepper
Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker, Robert Bosch GmbH
“Passionate about New Work & Collaboration: Founder, Guide, Consultant, Trainer, Speaker & Change Agent, certified Working Out Loud Coach.” – @katha_krentz
Purchase 032c Issue #36 “Working Out Loud” (Summer 2019) HERE.