A look at intranet innovations

What does a good intranet look like? Is yours the pick of the bunch? Who is doing a good job and what can you learn from them?

I’ve written before about using Pinterest for internal communication, and two of my favourite Pinterest boards are by comms pro Sharon O’Dea @sharonodea. She has collated screen grabs of intranets, but my favourite board of her has to be the “ugly intranet” board. I like rummaging through them to see who is doing what. You can see them below or via the links.

Follow Sharon O’Dea’s board Ugly Intranet on Pinterest.

Follow Sharon O’Dea’s board Intranets on Pinterest.

Steve Bynghall @bynghall, (pictured) is a London-based consultant and writer specialising in intranets, collaboration and knowledge management. He is the founder of his own consultancy Two Hives Ltd, and works extensively for the Digital Workplace Group and Step Two Designs.

He coordinates the Intranet Innovation Awards and here he writes for my blog to share some insights into some of the trends he has spotted. Over to you Steve…

Sharing intranet success: enter the 2014 Intranet Innovation Awards

SteveA few months back ago on this blog I reported on the winners of the 2013 Intranet Innovation Awards (IIA), a global intranet award competition run by Step Two Designs which celebrates new and innovative approaches in the intranet and digital workplace space.

I reflected on some of the themes which emerged, including the acceleration of interest in enterprise mobility and the blurring of internal and external channels.

A few months on and we’re now accepting submissions for the 2014 Awards! This guest post looks at why you should consider entering and also some of the themes which might emerge from entries this year.

Competitions provide value

The Intranet Innovation Awards are now well established and entering their eight year. Over the four years I’ve been involved with them we’ve seen a proliferation of new intranet and digital comms-related awards and competitions.

Some of these are run by vendors and seek to engage customer communities, while increasingly conferences are running a parallel competition with the event.

Perhaps it might feel like there are too many competitions out there, but I think they provide real value in helping frequently-overlooked intranet, digital and internal comms teams get some recognition both internally and externally.

They also provide a great framework for sharing in-depth case studies which can provide information, advice, interesting approaches and inspiration for similar teams working in different organisations.

Of course competition entries tend to only focus on success stories and sometimes brush over the challenges, but I’ve found many competition winners are also open to direct contact and networking, so you can usually learn more about any thorny issues which were encountered.

So if you have done something interesting, successful, new or clever with your intranet, ESN (enterprise social network), mobile platform or digital workplace I’d urge you to enter the IIA or one of the other competitions. Entering (and winning) provides value.


It’s always difficult to predict what themes we’ll see emerge this year, but when we write the report which details the winning entries, we always have a go!

Last year I predicted we’d see the following for 2014 entries:

  • The design rules get rewritten.   We’ll see some entries which take a very novel approach to intranet design, moving away from the traditional homepage and horizontal navigation.
  • Mobile influences desktop design. The simplicity and improved user-experience of smartphones and tablets will be reflected in simpler designs appearing on desktop equivalents.
  • Gamification marches on. Last year gamification was sitting at the top of the Gartner hype cycle, but despite scepticism from some, it keeps on appearing in intranet platforms as a method of driving adoption and engagement. I expect we’ll see more of the same.
  • SharePoint 2013 marches on too. Many new intranets and redesigns are now emerging using SharePoint 2013. We’re expecting many entries will be based on the platform.
  • The cloud and synchronisation. We expect a further blurring of intranets and “digital workplaces”, with synchronisation of work files held in the cloud across different devices (both personal and corporate) a potential feature.
  • Variety and quality. We expect the quality of entries to keep on improving, which it has done over the past two years. Despite what many observers say about intranets, many of the newer ones with social networking features and tools, are a significant improvement on the intranets of old.

Will we see any of those trends reflected in submissions and winners? Please enter so you can prove us right or wrong!

Entering the Intranet Innovation Awards

Entering the Intranet Innovation Awards is easy. It’s free and all the details and an entry form are available at http://www.steptwo.com.au/iia/enter.

There are five entry categories:

  • Core intranet functionality
  • Social, collaboration and communication
  • Business and frontline
  • Enterprise mobility
  • Intranet rework

We’re accepting submissions until 6 June.

If you have any questions or need guidance you can get in touch via awards (at) steptwo.com.au and we’ll be more than happy to help. One quick tip is that statistical evidence which demonstrates impact will always help an entry.

Good luck!

Post author: Steve Bynghall.

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