An introduction to working in the open (infographic).

The Open Working Line-up (OWL) is a team of people helping Catalyst-funded charities work in the open and reuse existing tools and technologies.  

Working in the open is as simple as sharing your work with others - inside or outside your organisation - and using work that’s been done by others to help you with your project.

‘Work’ might be an asset - such as a set of user personas - or it might be learnings and reflections from someone who’s done something that you’re thinking of doing. By sharing and learning from others, we can make more progress, more quickly and help more people. And of course, it saves money and time. 

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What are the OWLs doing?

  • Educating Catalyst-funded charities on how to work in the open
  • Helping make research and design assets open for others to see and use, e.g. user need statements, personas, research findings
  • Helping Catalyst-funded charities publish their learning e.g. as Service Recipes
  • Helping those charities to consider reuse in plans and testing processes

Why is working in the open important? 

Working in the open has a lot of benefits - and that’s as well as making you feel good. By learning how to communicate what you’re doing and learning, you'll be able to do things like get buy-in from stakeholders internally, put together stronger funding bids or get input from your peers in the community.

By learning from those who have gone before you, you’ll build on existing learning and it could help you to make the right decision for your organisation. 

You should also be able to save time - and money - from re-using work that’s already been done, which will mean you’ll be able to see results more quickly.

Working in the open is reciprocal - just as you benefit from others’ work, so others benefit from you sharing your stories and assets. You’re ready to share when you’ve learned something and you’re able to tell someone else about it. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be polished or perfect.

Who are the OWLs?

Ross McCulloch is the founder of Third Sector Lab - helping charities, social entrepreneurs and community groups get the most out of digital.

Marlous Lang-Peterse is a project manager at Third Sector Lab, having previously worked in international theatre and festival management.

Matthew McStravick is creative director at the relational design studio Deepr, where his work straddles service, systems and culture design for a sustainable future. 

Joe Roberson is a service designer, content designer and founded MOMO, a multi-award winning social care app that he grew into one of the UK’s most successful tech for good startups.

Christine Cawthorne is a content designer and strategist and runs Crocstar, a content design agency that specialises in making the complex simple.

Learn how to work in the open.

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