Open working manifesto

A manifesto and set of principles for working in the open.
This is for everyone
To build better services for those who need our help we need to work together – and that means being open. When we share what we know we help others learn, just as we learn from them.
Working openly means everybody benefits: you attract ideas, funding and people who can help. Others will accelerate their learning and make progress more quickly. Mistakes are avoided, work isn’t duplicated.
By sharing and reusing work, we can better help those who need us.
Make things open: it makes things better.

Just start

Share small, share often - Give short, regular updates about work that’s in progress. Working openly is about sharing the process of work as you’re doing it, not just about sharing completed pieces of work or a giant end-of-project report at the end.
Format doesn’t matter - Don’t worry about the format and polish of what you’re sharing - a word document or an image can be enough and it doesn’t need to be designed up and glossy. Focus on what you’re explaining and what you’ve learned.
Protect private details - Remember to protect any private information when you’re sharing work - being open doesn’t mean revealing identities or people’s data.

Be intentional

Build trust by sharing - Share your work both inside and outside your organisation to help people understand what you’re doing, how and why. When you are open you create the conditions for trust: in you, your project and your organisation.
Own the story of your work - it’s important to tell your story in your own words. Be yourself, even if it feels scary, because sharing your thoughts and what you’ve just learned is valid. It legitimises the learning experience for others and encourages them to try working openly too.
Supercharge your development - Working openly helps you reflect on what you’ve done, learn from the process and make better decisions in future.

Build relationships

Connect with others - Share to attract people to your organisation - such as future staff and supporters. You will also find an interested audience of collaborators, peers and adjacent organisations interested in the same issues. Connect and build a bigger, stronger network.
Converse don’t announce - Working openly is an invitation to reciprocate and collaborate with others. Share to get input, not praise. Sharing benefits everyone involved so expect to talk about what you’ve shared, and open the conversation with others about what they’ve learned.
You don’t know everything - Ask for input to help you build a better product or service. You don’t have all the answers and by sharing your work you will get feedback that helps you close the knowledge gap.

Stand on shoulders

Assume the solution already exists - Do your research to understand what’s out there. The solution you’re looking for is waiting for you to reuse: whether that’s a policy, process, software, or any other building block. Cherry pick what you need and bring it together.
Reuse work from other people - Don’t waste time and money making the same mistakes they did - use their work, their ideas and their learnings to catapult your project forward. The sector owes its progress to people sharing and reusing work: they shared because they care.
Use Creative Commons licences - These exist to let you share and use work without worry of taking proprietary information.