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The 2019 Intranet Reloaded (Berlin) – My Gold Nuggets from Two Days with Practitioners

For the 8th consecutive year, @weCONECT’s Intranet Reloaded (#intrelEU) was the leading practitioner gathering around the future of intranets and the digital workplace. Despite the occasional “there are other ways, too, you know,” the dominance of Microsoft Office 365 in the field became even more evident.

The majority of cases showed early or slightly advanced solutions for internal communications and, in some cases, information management. What struck me the most was the emphasis on design and (yes, Swarovski SIA) outright visual beauty – next to the clear message to the audience:

You (experts) are not the user, you need to take UX and employee experience serious.

Mobile access is becoming an increasingly important aspect in the light of a more agile workforce and the need to keep blue collar workers in the game; Deutsche Post/DHL showed this in a quite impressive case for the 8th Intranet Reloaded Awards.

A similarly frequent topic was ‘change management’ and the impact of digitalisation on organisation and business processes. My favourites this year were delivered by Martin Wilckens (Deutsche Telekom) and Jacqui Randle ( @jacquirandle1 | Scottish Government).

Work 2028 – Trends. Dilemmas. Opportunities.

Martin gave a 20 minute summary of Deutsche Telekom’s latest report on the future of work. To make it quick: download the report, lean back and get ready for some serious inspiration. Two bits tickled my brain in particular:

Episodic Loyalty

In a nutshell, the counter opposite of the classic German career path. In the future, our commitment and engage for a business, a brand or a person will not last forever. It will be more bound to projects, roles or individual identification with the challenge at hand.

As a consequence, companies need to get ready for more frequent on-, re- and off-boarding of employees. Without proper digital support for the employee life cycle, this will turn into HR’s worst nightmare.

The Ability to ‘Unlearn’

Even though the report is about ‘unlearning the old understanding of leadership’, what clicked with me was the concept of ‘unlearning’ per se. Looking back at my recent experience in digitalisation projects core to the business logic (sales, legal, technical delivery), the ability to ‘drop the old habits and routines’ was essential to moving towards the new ways of working.

It is paramount to the change process that everyone understands that just executing the old ways with new tools most likely won’t deliver the desired result. That’s why we will have to be able to ‘unlearn’ existing (and comfortable) work patterns to move on and unleash the digital potential.

Handling Users along the Innovation Adoption Cycle

Jacqui from the Scottish Government gave a compelling presentation on change and change management in the context of a pretty intranet re-vamp. One that, for example, delivered the ability to onboard new entities on the concept for less than two grand, providing a result that would have cost millions in the past.

My favourite part of her presentation, however, was the connection of the Innovation Life Cycle to the attitude of digital service user groups:

Looking back at some recent change initiatives I’ve been part of, I might steal it with pride and slightly re-work it for explaining activities for specific user groups. Just on a quick side note: the need to convey purpose and implement (change) leadership throughout the organisation is of course present anywhere along the cycle…

So a big thanks to Jacqui for that one 🙂 It will stick with me for some time for sure.