Future of work trends: Working In the Narrative

Following on from his previous blog about Working Out Loud, our associate partner Rik now looks at a powerful way of doing this: Working In the Narrative.

A winning way to WOL

In my previous blog, I explained the advantages of Working Out Loud (WOL) for team collaboration: immediate feedback, better and faster decision making, and transparency – especially when compared to email. A very effective way to work out loud is by Working In the Narrative (WIN).

Imagine your organisation as a collection of stories or narratives – projects, strategies, processes, client cases, innovation programs, issues etc. All these narratives have a beginning and an end, stakeholders, deliverables, and deadlines. With WIN, you capture all this in a storyline. This usually takes the form of a thread on a digital collaboration platform such as Teams, Yammer, or Workplace.

Be a winner

Four steps are key to WIN. The first is providing context. Explain the importance of the post and what you expect of those reading it. You can also attach or link to files you are collaborating on. Then, as a team, share updates, notes, changes, and comments in the same thread. That way, you keep everything together and organised.

Engage others actively when you need their help. On many collaboration platforms, you can use the @-mention function for this. They will then get a notification. Finally, it is essential to close the loop when your project or task is complete. Make sure to thank participants for their contributions while you are at it.

Get into the swing of it

So how does this work in practice? At one of our clients, the Communication department works in the narrative. Producing content goes like this:

  • Post a message with the title and a link to the first draft;

  • Describe when it needs to go live, who the target audience is, and who needs to review it;

  • Let everyone involved reply asynchronously and give feedback on each other’s responses;

  • Post the final version, and ask everyone to approve with a simple “like”.

Now, think about how something like this would work in your team!


Capturing all the information and interactions around a project or task in one thread is called Working In the Narrative. It is a very effective way to collaborate in an increasingly hybrid and digital work environment.

In the next and final blog in this series, I will look at using technology to facilitate internal communication and digital collaboration.

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