Thursday, 15th September marked the 6th annual Interaction event, Europe’s largest intranet conference.
Welcoming 230 attendees, exhibitors and staff to the Etc Venues location in the heart of London, the Interaction conference set out to explore the latest trends in business communications, employee engagement and enterprise social technology. Sponsored by intranet experts Interact, Breast Cancer Now and the Institute of Internal Communications, the day’s events featured 16 talks alongside exclusive exhibitions of award-winning intranets.
Launching early with a welcome from Interact’s Scott Hitchins, the morning session introduced keynote speakers to explore growing themes in the evolving digital workplace.
Gerry McGovern of Customer Carewords was first to the stage, opening by identifying some of the challenges arising from managing employees within a digital environment. Exploring the importance of arming employees with the information they need to do their jobs well and the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration, Gerry closed with an argument for measuring employee experience in order to change the organizational model of businesses.
At 9.30 the delegation welcomed Andy Williamson of the University of East London and sponsors IoIC (Institute of Internal Communications) to identify the top trends for internal communications in 2017. Despite the growing role of technology, Andy was keen to emphasize the need for balance: and the value of “saying it with coffee” in an increasingly noisy digital workplace.
He was closely followed by Joel Turner of exhibitors Sky Betting & Gaming, who took the audience through the tribulations of launching the iconic brand’s own internal collaboration platform – and the considerations needed to drive it to become the number 1 communications tool within the business. Simplicity, great content and a people-focused approach were amongst some of Turner’s recommendations; all features recognized by those who took to the exhibition area to view the host of intranets on tour as part of the day.
Exhibitors on the day included:
- Sky Betting & Gaming
- War Child
- Ultra Electronics
- Royal College of Physicians
- University of South Wales
- Royal College of Nursing
On the ‘Interaction Homepage Wall’, attendees also had the opportunity to view and vote on their favourite intranet page – a challenging choice, given the vast range of designs and brands on show.
After a brief break, James Robertson of Step Two Designs was next to the main stage; having flown in from Australia for the event, James commanded the attention of attendees by exploring the practical approaches needed to navigate the “complex beasts” that are modern-day digital workplaces. In his ambitious talk, James challenged each and every member of audience to become a one-man change manager – arguing that change is possible, even with limited resources.
Before lunch, the Interaction conference welcomed its panelists for open discussion and debate, hosted by Interact’s Nigel Williams. A diverse delegation made for some challenging discussion, with representatives in the audience on the day from big brands including T.K. Maxx, Channel 4, ASOS, St. John’s Ambulance, TATA Communications and many more.
For the afternoon, delegates were offered the opportunity to ‘mix and match’ from 3 different streams, each featuring different guest speakers who would explore topics around communication, employee engagement and the digital workplace. This year Interaction welcomed presenters from Interact customers Misys, Royal College of Physicians, MacMillan Cancer Support, Ultra Electronics and University of South Wales, alongside senior communications professionals from Lloyds Banking Group, Ernst & Young, Haldex, Clearbox Consulting, Sticky Content and We Are Atmosphere.
Covering a broad range of topics from successful brand messaging through to the challenging tribulations of undertaking an intranet project, the afternoon’s sessions offered comprehensive insights into all things internal and digital communications. Blogs and slidedecks from this year’s event will be featuring on the interact website over the coming weeks.
The day concluded with a presentation to winners Royal College of Physicians, who secured the top vote for the homepage design of their intranet, “Parklife”. Funds raised by ticket sales for the event were presented as a charitable donation to sponsors Breast Cancer Now, who received £1,150 for their cause.
Interact would like to thank all presenters, contributors, organizers and attendees for making this year’s Interaction Conference the most successful to date. Access to further content will be available via the Interact blog; sign up to receive our blog updates and get first-hand access to this year’s presentations and insights.