It has been a short while since I last had a chance to create a new blog post over here. If I were to summarise what’s been going on throughout the last couple of weeks, I would probably do it with a single sentence: We truly live in extraordinary times. And, frankly, with that, you would agree with me, there is nothing more extraordinary than a great story.
Writing Transitions was quite a challenge. Fast forward to March 2020 and, judging by what’s currently going on, it looks like we haven’t seen anything yet! That blog post would pale in comparison to what we are currently going through. My goodness! Where do I begin? How do I regain my focus and energy after everything that’s going on at the moment?
Ok, let’s try it. Let’s talk about IntraTeam. Last year I was invited to speak at one of my favourite European conference events around the Digital Workplace. For personal reasons, I eventually had to cancel my participation. I was gutted I couldn’t make it, but grateful and honoured Kurt reinvited me right then to this year’s event in Copenhagen. It is only now though I’m starting to realise that this year’s IntraTeam event may well be the last one I would get to attend for a good while. I am glad I had the opportunity to get the most out of it while I could!
The main theme from this year’s edition was around #DEX (Digital Employee Experience), building from previous mantras around Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, etc., etc. A couple of years ago, in this article, James Robertson defined #DEX as follows:
Digital employee experience (#DEX) is the sum total of the digital interactions within the work environment.
It was a real treat seeing him on stage, as the main keynote speaker, talking about what #DEX means for most businesses nowadays, while he was also sharing some glimpses about the insightful and data packed Digital Employee Experience (DEX) survey they have just published.
People keep asking me why I heart IntraTeam so much as one of my favourite conference events in Europe. If I were to use a single keyword to describe it I suppose it would be Community (With a capital ‘C‘). This year’s edition was no different!
It is a conference that gathers Digital Workplace practitioners and enthusiasts who have got a passion for Intranets and who are all extremely willing to share generously with you what they have been working on and make it all quite an incredible immersive learning experience that will not leave you indifferent.
IntraTeam is an event meant for massive networking opportunities amongst peers. Knowledge (Web) workers who are truly passionate about the hard work they put together day in day out to improve the overall user experience of their co-workers when they start making extensive use of their digital workplace(s).
The programme is outstanding. The line-up of speakers, a real treat to the mind and the soul, as they go the extra mile to share with you the journey they have already begun, not just during their sessions, but throughout the conference as you talk to them through the many networking opportunities, including my faovurite ones: the networking dinners.
The venue is incredibly accommodating, not only in terms of the space allocated to refreshments within the expo area, where everyone gets a good chance to mix and mingle and be part of the community, but also with the large rooms for the breakout sessions. The focus from Kurt and his wonderful team (Anette Wittenberg, Anja Thinggaard Madsen, Bolette Clausen, Pia Berg Christensen, amongst several others) is to make you feel welcomed, valued, respected, appreciated and overall engaged. Only great things can come out of that, that is for sure! And once more, they have delivered and truly exceeded everyone’s expectations!
Now, let’s talk a little bit more about the content and what would have been some of my favourite highlights from the different speaking sessions I attended throughout the entire two day conference . As usual, I picked up again the habit of doing some casual live tweeting for the various sessions I attended, so folks could take a look and see what they were like. You may also want to check out this wonderful highlights write-up by my good friend Steve Bynghall, where he shares his favourite key takeaways from the event. Definitely, worth a read!
A few days ago I teased, through a LinkedIn post, what would be my main three highlights from IntraTeam itself and I mentioned in there how I would be expanding further in this particular blog post, so let’s get down to it:
Listening to people’s needs and wants
In the space of the Digital Workplace and Digital Employee Experience, it has taken us a long while to come around this one. In fact, I have been advocating for a good few years already, about the urgent need to pay more attention to delighting your employees with a far superiour digital user experience, not just your customers.
At IntraTeam this year, it has been incredibly exciting and inspirational listening to folks like Julia Dudenko (From DHL Deutsche Post), Katrine Schelbli (McDonald’s in Denmark), Heather Force (From Thomson Reuters) or Joris Kok (ING Netherlands), amongst several others, talking about how they have been engaging their colleagues listening to what their needs and wants have been. How they can best accommodate to them AND, eventually, deliver on them. Gosh, incredibly refreshing to see the kind of impact listening to your knowledge (Web) workers can have!
Stories, stories and more stories!
At the beginning of this blog post I wrote how there is probably nothing more extraordinary out there than a great story. A story that can inspire people and from which we can all learn something. A story that give us the opportunity to share and connect with others who may have had similar challenges or opportunities.
A story that helps you understand how in the space of the Digital Workplace and DEX it is the journey that counts the most and not necessarily the final destination. A story that, all in all, allows us all to grow together and become better as a result.
This year, at IntraTeam, we had plenty of wonderful stories being shared on stage by the same folks I have mentioned above already, but also by other equally super smart folks who came forward and shared their own story. Incredibly self-empowering stories like the one shared by Nina Sonne Nikaelsen (From COWI) confirming how doing project management work with your colleagues can be social and collaborative, as well as transformative.
Or perhaps the superb story from John Baptiste-Kelly (From Wellcome) who pretty much managed to demolish, right there, on stage, the good old myth from the 1-9-90 rule by providing an excelling digital employee experience that thrives on engagement through the high quality content produced by a significant percentage of knowledge (Web) workers.
Or, maybe that other powerful and robust story from Line Møller Roland and Christian Skjaeran (From VELUX) where they confirmed how DEX (Digital Employee Experience) is pretty much a journey for the long term and how we need to keep listening to and learning from our colleagues to keep iterating time and time again in order to provide overall better user experiences.
What was the story I enjoyed the most, you may be wondering, right? Well, by far, it was the one from Heather Force (From Thomson Reuters), who pretty much nailed it with regards to the overall Digital Employee Experience when using the following metaphor: that one of you, each and everyone of you as individuals, going through the airport to take that next flight … Next time you do that, and I know we are currently going through challenging times in that regard!, think of what it is like for you versus what it is for others. Only when you would start thinking in those terms you would understand what a fascinating journey DEX has been all along and still going strong!
All of the speaker’s stories were just brilliant! After two decades in this space, even I got to learn a lot from each and everyone of them, but, here’s the magic, it didn’t stop there! Through the different networking breaks we all got a unique opportunity to listen and learn from everyone else’s stories on what they were working on themselves.
It was just wonderful experiencing how each and everyone of the attendees of the event were very keen in generously sharing with others what they were working on, what they had learned at the time during the conference and some of their major key takeaways they would be putting into practice when going back to their work places. All of that excitement and anticipation surely gave me hope!
The Future Of Work is networked and feminine
My good friend Harold Jarche has been writing for a good few years now about how the Future Of Work is networked and feminine. Well, I am going to take things one step further. I strongly believe the Present of Work is ALREADY networked AND feminine. Today. Because if there is anything I learned from this year’s IntraTeam edition is being blown away by the absolutely fantastic piece of work that a good number of incredibly smart and talented ladies have been doing all along around the Digital Employee Experience.
And not just the many speakers we had the privilege to listen to and learn from while on the stage, but also, again, from the overall attendees of the event. I don’t remember any other recent conference event I have attended in the last two or three years, where I had spoken with such a large number of ladies truly passionate about the splendid piece of work they have been doing so far within their own organisations to not just get work done more effectively, but something that, to me, comes close to my heart: transform, through persuasion and influence of user behaviour, how people work!
Yes, indeed, the Future Of Work is no longer a chimera, nor a myth. It’s become the #PresentOfWork we all have the real treat to experience, day in day out, through those social networks and online communities as the new operating models, that keep shaping pretty much the overall Digital Employee Experience. And the ladies (finally!) are leading the journey! Double yay!
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait for the next IntraTeam event. Will I see you there?
(In an upcoming blog post I will be sharing shortly, I will talk a bit more in detail about the presentation I did myself at IntraTeam on the key role data analytics plays in augnmenting the Digital Employee Experience. Thus stay tuned for more!)