IntraTeam Event 2013 Roundup

With none of the Intranetizen team able to make the IntraTeam event this year, Martin Risgaard Rasmussen kindly offered to step in and write a review of the event. Thanks, Martin!

As a true IntraTeam Event veteran attending the conference for the fourth time I was looking forward to the annual intranet ‘family reunion’ in Copenhagen that Kurt and his ‘Intra Team’ usually puts together, so before leaving my home in Aarhus on my three hour train ride to get there I naturally had high expectations to this year’s event and I was – once again – not disappointed.

Day one

The first day was – true to form – dedicated to workshops and tutorials lead by intranet experts and thought leaders. I attended a six-hour workshop about intranet personas lead by Gordon Ross, whose inspiring blog and tweets I have been following for years.

He introduced a method developed by Dave Snowden and based on this we went through a narrative and sense making exercise (and a lot of post-its) to produce five personas. Very interesting and I can only recommend all intranet professionals to give personas some thought. It takes time but in the end it is time well spent.

In previous years I have been giving feedback that the workshop days were more tutorials than workshops – and last year’s Intranetizen review noted the same. So I was happy to find myself in a ‘real’ workshop rather than to sit down and listen to a tutorial. Speaking to other delegates I got the impression that they, with the odd exception, also enjoyed the day. Certainly a positive development for the event where the weak spot has been the first day and I hope this continues.

Day two

The first proper conference day was kicked off by Jane McConnell who gave a nice presentation on what you can call ‘The state of the Digital Workplace’ based on her latest Digital Workplace Trends report. If you have been following Jane and are familiar with her work there is no big surprises here but nevertheless a good way to start the conference.

Following Jane, David Cotterill from the UK Cabinet Office presented ‘Idea Street’ from UK Department for Work and Pensions with some great insights into why community management is important but also how game mechanics can be very helpful. Most interestingly David’s case study provided proof of the elusive ROI of social collaboration and how the initiative had saved £20m – quite impressive.

IKEA had been called in and Linda Tinnert had put a very interesting presentation together (pun intended) on how they are using Yammer globally. In many ways they reflect the journey my company and several others have been through. It’s about people – not about the tools! A sentence that cannot be repeated enough when you are talking about the digital workplace and its components. Following this presentation I had the privilege of hosting a round table with Linda which was an excellent follow up on the many questions that came up after her presentation.

The day concluded with award Denmark’s Best Intranet 2012 which was presented to Grontmij for their intranet with Tivoli as the runner up. Overall it was very well designed with some nice features but I talked to others who questioned whether this was the best one out there since there was little focus on search and social. I will not agree or disagree but crowning someone or something as ‘the best’ always raises questions. In my opinion, the best intranet is one that fits the organization. This is also why ‘the best’ is a little ambiguous and personally I prefer awards that highlight good features like the Intranet Innovation Awards rather than an entire intranet – maybe something to consider for IntraTeam.

Day three

This day started with two analyst presentations. First up was Matt Mullen from 451Research whose presentation title promised to teach us how to deal with the aftermath of Dropbox. Certainly an interesting presentation about consumerisation but not quite what it said on the label which was a real shame. Matt was followed by Jarrod Gingras from Real Story Group who talked about search to a packed room. In my opinion there was little news in his presentation something tells me that search is becoming a subject that we all know is important but we have no idea (nor any budget) how to do something about it.

Gordon Ross from ThoughtFarmer was next with a somewhat philosophical presentation about the concept of power in the social intranet. Drawing from the ideas of Manuel Castells he emphasized how the aim to ‘empower’ everyone puts the existing power structures under immense pressure and how we need to understand how power flows in networks – hierarchical or informal before we can shorten the distance between people. Extremely interesting but also complex and I can only recommend that you watch ThoughtFarmer’s blog or follow him on Twitter where he will be sharing his inspiring presentation.

After lunch I gave a presentation about our first 10 months on Yammer and the lessons we have learned. As I mentioned before we have a lot in common with IKEA’s journey not to mention that we still have a lot of work to do but the fact that we have been able to learn as we go through real life experimenting has been invaluable. The event concluded with Elizabeth Lupfer who was called in last minute and gave a good presentation on how Verizon worked with engaging people in a large organization.

They did it again

Once again IntraTeam Event turned out to be a great conference. Lots of familiar faces and some new additions to the growing family together along with some inspiring speakers did that I left Copenhagen brimming with ideas and thoughts.

Venue and logistics were good as always apart from day three where things were a little crammed together due to another event. This was part made up for by lunch at the 25th floor overlooking Copenhagen and overall not something that could change the picture of an excellent conference. I’m looking forward to the 2014 edition.

Did you attend IntraTeam event this year? What did you think of it? What could be improved, and would you recommend it to others? Talk about it in the comments below.

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  1. Gordon

    Great review Martin and thanks for the kind words. Like any conference with two tracks or multiple workshops happening at the same time, it was always hard to juggle your schedule. I know I was looking to clone myself and watch two sessions simultaneously for most of the event. Hard to pick when you’ve got a great lineup. Hope to come back to Denmark again – thoroughly enjoyed myself.

  2. Kurt Kragh Sørensen - IntraTeam

    Thanks for the kind words. Really appreciated.

    Here is more about the IntraTeam Event 2013:

    One comment though on the best intranet. It was the best of those that entered the contest. We also appreciate that some people are willing to show their intranet and share their experiences. Compared to other that award intranets we have benchmarked it with our benchmarking model and have actually seen the intranet and tested what has been claimed to work. Then we have asked more than 200 employees about their opinion of the intranet.

    It might not be as interesting to see and hear about as when you are presented with the Innovation Awards but we appreciate good intranets that works and add value to the colleagues and the organisation.

    We also appreciate the Innovation Awards but just see that as something else. We are not making money on writing reports about the intranets afterwards but share the knowledge for free. Videos and screendumps will be uploaded to our website and all you need to do is sign up for free and you can see them 🙂

  3. Anette Wittenberg - IntraTeam

    Thanks for your positive and constructive feedback on IntraTeam Event 2013.

    Your comments on the IntranetPrize are not new to us, and I would like to explain – in addition to Kurt’s points – why we don’t write anything about the “best intranet” in our criteria and why the IntranetPrize is about an entire intranet.

    The purpose is to award a prize based on how well the intranet functions within the organization and in comparison with other intranets. The purpose is to find, highlight and share good intranets. The purpose is not to nominate the best intranet in Denmark, and therefore it is an open competition which everybody can enter. The ”best” intranet is the one that wins the annual competition and sometimes, but not always, this equals actually being one of the best intranets in the country. Our hope is that the winning intranets may serve as inspiration to others and to provide some intranets to benchmark against. Occasionally, there have been comments such as ”this year, it was not a worthy prize winner”. But we do not see it like that as we think that inspiration comes in many forms and from many sources including the odd intranet. Consequently, it’s a deliberate decision on our part to have an open competition meaning that the best teams only win if they enter and that the quality of the winning intranet may differ from one year to another.

    We have discussed other models including your suggestion to award a single feature which is definitely relevant. However, it may or may not indicate anything about the quality of the rest of the intranet. You are right in saying that the best intranet is the one that fits the organization. And there is no such thing as the perfect intranet … yet (luckily we now have the digital workplace to look forward to). But there are intranets which can be singled out for user orientation, search and findability, collaboration, governance, usability and several other measure points and we believe that they are worth awarding a prize.

    For the above and other reasons, it makes sense to us to evaluate an entire intranet. Until convinced otherwise, we intend to stick to the original idea as we believe that our models and methods are an effective way of measuring and assessing the quality of an intranet as a whole. As a proof to that, some of the finalists and winners of the IntranetPrize have also won other competitions including Intranet Design Annual, Intranet Innovation Awards and Best SharePoint Intranet Solution Award.

    One mutually important object of our engagement in the intranet community is intranet Kaizen. In order to have continuous improvement, it’s obvious to learn from each other and bring forward the good – and less good – examples. This can be done in several manners and we believe that the IntranetPrize is one valid and valuable contribution to that end. That being said, it could be worthwhile and interesting to debate if the purpose of the IntranetPrize should be to present only intranets that score eg. above a certain percentage in our models or that IntraTeam simply picks out the most advanced ones. Happy to hear comments on this.

  4. Zafir Behlic

    Thanks for sharing and for pointers to some useful resources and sites. Glad to hear that the event I like is getting even better. Well done Kurt (again 🙂 )

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