Highlights: Intranet Now 2017

Our favourite talks and tweets from September's conference

Connor Ward

Connor Ward

It’s that time of year again.

On Thursday 5th November we descended on Hilton Bankside to talk all things intranet related. Some came to learn, others to share. But, we all there to answer one question: ‘What works now?’

From content to chatbots, we left with a lot to think about. And for the lucky few, there was a free copy of Oscar Berg’s Collaboration in a Social Era – ideas, insights and models that inspire new ways of thinking about collaboration.

Anyway, here are our favourite insights from the day:

Chatbots Now – Chris McGrath 

Not everyone was familiar with chatbots, and even if they were, many hadn’t considered their use for internal comms. If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll know we have an idea or two about the future of chatbots.

For the uninitiated, Chris McGrath gave a captivating insight into what a chatbot for IC looks like: Skype helping a head office move, Facebook Messenger providing advice on the right tools for a job and Microsoft Teams helping new starters get up to speed.

And for those of us with Facebook Messenger, there was our own Intranet Now bot to play around with:



  • We usually overestimate our staff’s IT skills
  • Chatbots are young – we’re still testing them
  • Building a successful chatbot is a gradual, ongoing process

Blind dogs and Englishmen: ancient wisdom about communication for technologists – Scott McArthur

It might be in some of our job titles, but no one can claim to be an expert on the art of communication. Thankfully Scott deftly picked out a selection of insights from across science, psychology and culture to help us unravel the why communication isn’t always easy.

He talks us through a new approach to communication where positive discussion, not debate, will help us overcome the difficulties and biases inherent in communication.

Concepts to think about:

  • Psychological bias
  • Attention bias
  • Narrowcasting

The spark, or how your intranet project can go wrong before you even start – Chris Tubb

No intranet is perfect. And too often, change is driven by the wrong reasons. When something breaks, we let this ‘spark’ drive the need for the change.

For Chris Tubb, the solution is simple: strategy. A big part of this should be spent defining the problem because, no matter how hard you try, you can’t fix the wrong problem. This process will provide the perspective and control you need to make a success of your intranet.


  • You can’t fix the wrong problem
  • Your project team consultants aren’t going to tell you your project is wrong
  • A strategy is a plan driven by a clever idea


But these guys weren’t alone: you can see all the presentations from the 23 speakers at intranetnow.co.uk/speakers.

We’ll see you all again in 2018.