Conference Notes

Intranets 2015 in Sydney

Last week I was in Sydney for the fifth annual Intranets conference, hosted by Step Two. With pre-conference and post-conference activities added in, it was a full week! Some comments:

  • Big Ideas. The three keynotes focused on re-imagining effective work (that was mine), doing governance well (Sue Hanley), and delivering the workplace of the future (James Robertson). The inspiration session at the end of day one was on decision making processes, heuristics, default choices, system 1 and system 2 thinking, and more. There was good engagement throughout each of these sessions, and good questions too.

  • Practical Examples of Intranets. Many of the sessions were practically focused on how a specific organization was approaching their intranet, from a certain perspective – such as design, engagement, integration, etc. I felt that the delegates in all sessions were very interested in the details of how something was done, and paid intense attention to the speakers and details. There were usually good discussion times after the sessions, where timing and room changes allowed that.

  • Discussion Opportunities. With good coffee available throughout the conference (thanks Ken!), plus morning and afternoon breaks – and lunch – there were many opportunities for people to stand or sit to discuss what they’d heard and what they were going to do as a result. There was a really good vibe throughout the conference.

  • Great Intranet, Technology at End of Life. One speaker talked about the intranet and collaboration environment she / the firm had built over the past couple of years, and it was an inspiring story. The details were good. What was less good was that the technology underpinning all that work has been discontinued by the vendor (Cisco Social / Cisco Quad), with no migration path to anything else from that vendor (although the vendor has partnered with Jive). I groaned inwardly on realising that all the work she’d done would have to be recreated in a new technology platform.

  • Surface Pro 3 Usage. It was good to see a number of people at the conference – and also usually in the foyer of my hotel – using a Surface Pro 3 or the newer and less expensive Surface 3. One of the delegates I sat next to during a conference session was even using his Pro 3 as a writing pad, and used the pen to take notes in digital ink. I often see people using their Pro 3 with the keyboard only, or using the pen just to touch the screen now and then; it is rare that I see anyone actually using it as a medium for digital ink.

  • Social Event. The social event at the end of the first day of the conference was held at Madam Tussauds, and included a photo competition, a three course dinner, and table games. Many creative ideas were contributed to the photo competition, and people’s general knowledge was well tested during the table games.
  • #SketchNotes. Rebecca Jackson was at the conference with pad and pen ascribbling throughout. Rebecca has an incredible ability to sketch out visually the main ideas in a talk. Check out her work on Twitter at #sketchnotes #intranets2015. Thanks Rebecca!

As with the previous two Intranets conferences I have attended, it was a great event and comes highly recommended.

Step Two didn’t announce the dates for the conference next year, but after bringing together such a great collection of intranet folk in Australia five years running, I’m sure we’ll just have to wait for the date.

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