What it takes to launch a new intranet conference

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What it takes to launch a new intranet conference

There isn’t an independent intranet conference in the UK. If willing to travel, you can have your pick of annual intranet events across Europe, but there’s little for the intranet manager at home.

wedgeThat could all change, says @Wedge, (pictured) if you’re ready to support a grass-roots initiative that has the potential to deliver the most innovative and practical intranet conference outside of Copenhagen.

In this guest article, Wedge Black, the initial instigator, reports on the status of the conference that came out of nowhere.

What it takes to launch a new intranet conference

I’m not an events manager, and I don’t know what it takes to organise a conference. My naivety and ignorance have been a great source of strength, especially considering we have just eight or nine weeks to get everything sorted.

I’ve attended a fair few conferences in the last five years (and spoken at a couple), and if there are drinks afterwards, a crowd of us will refocus our conversation onto intranets. Eventually, someone will ask ‘why isn’t there an intranet conference in the UK?’ – and someone will offer Interact’s Interaction conference (which is somewhat customer focused).

Andrew Wright, of the WIC, directly suggested I put on a little informal event, maybe for 40 people or so. Then I heard Martin White was wondering out loud about the lack of an independent intranet conference.

So I made a move. I launched a Google+ community, wrote a blog article, and asked people what they wanted. I found that people wanted to talk to each other, and to hear fresh voices.

So I had this idea for a cross between a conference and an unconference (I’d probably just attended the ResponsiveOrg unconference). I called it a ‘hybrid’, but eventually settled on un/conference (with the slash).

But I can’t always be certain my ideas are great (you should try my terrible cocktails) so I was very grateful for all the ideas and guidance from the Google Plus community.

Knowing I can’t do everything myself, I asked for real help, and Brian Lamb stepped forward. Brian and I are shaping the un/conference around all the suggestions we’ve been given.

Together, we mean to make an intranet un/conference by practitioners for practitioners. Oh, and we called it ‘Intranet Now’ as we want to focus on intranet practices today, not technology of the future.

So what does it take to put a conference on? Well:

  1. A venue – we don’t have one, but we will do by the end of June. It will either be free (if someone like you can help us) or it will cost thousands – it will be London;
  2. A date – again, we don’t have one, but when we secure the venue, we’ll confirm the date too – it will be September;
  3. Food and drink – yep yep, everyone needs a few nice breaks to chat and meet people;
  4. Stuff – apparently I have to know about A/V equipment and electric extensions and blu-tack and flip-charts – I’m sure this stuff will all come together;
  5. Speakers, and a decent agenda – well, we have a framework agenda, and we have several speakers lined up, but we need the date confirmed in order to properly book speakers – we welcome first-time speakers for short talks;
  6. Sponsors – this is more exciting than you might imagine. I’ve been in talks with some fantastic people who have been very generous. Our current and soon-to-be-on-board sponsors are co-creating this event, helping us provide a great service to our attendees.

Can you help?
Can you suggest or offer a multi-space venue in London for 100 – 150 people?

Would you like to speak?Help We’d love to hear the story of your intranet launch / redevelopment / governance / mobilisation.

If you’re not an in-house practitioner, would you like to sponsor us? Every little helps.

Brian has written about his expectations for the day, and we have a draft agenda and plenty of explanatory information in the top-level menu of our little Intranet Now conference website.

So that’s the story so far – will you check out the links above and see if you want to get involved to kickstart this initiative?

Please contact me via Twitter, on @Wedge or mail Wedge@kilobox.net

Post author: Wedge Black.

Best of luck, I think this is an excellent idea. Want to find out what events are around for comms pros to attend? See my comms calendar for a comprehensive list.

Know of something you think should be on there? Do please Tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below.

Rachel 

Published June 2014.

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