Intranet Innovation Awards 2015

I’ve been following the Intranet Innovation Awards for a few years now and every year I am wowed by the fresh ideas, clever execution and innovative ways that intranets can meet staff needs. I jumped on to the webinar to get my annual fix of intranet awesome and was not disappointed. Congratulations all of this years winners; and to James, Steve and the team at Step Two Designs on another excellent collection. Here are my takeaways from the session.

Design is no longer secondary

As is always the case we saw heaps of screenshots and a demonstration from a number of award winners. The visual design standard for intranets continues to rise and in many cases are valid rivals for a public facing website or application. What we’re seeing is much more than just a pretty skin, but true consideration for interaction design as well. The Heineken intranet is video driven with a YouTube feel, Barclays Global Curriculum site has a Pinterest-style aesthetic which is very image driven and visually appealing and Robin Partington & Partners stands out with metric driven visuals and smooth interactions.

Iterative intranets work

Intranet folk have been hearing for a while now that small incremental change is the way to go. Many businesses are structured around doing larger rebuilds rather than continual improvement. If you want to make the case for incremental, reference the Robin Partington & Partners intranet. In the beginning they didn’t even look at it as an intranet, they were just improving things for staff; for example, by improving staff profiles to include information that saved time for the administrative team. After some small wins, teams were coming to them to help deliver further improvements and an intranet was born.

Sketched highlights from the RPP presentation.
Sketched highlights from the RPP presentation more on my Flickr.

Cost comes into question

A big shock for me, and others on the webinar, was how little the Robin Partington & Partners team paid for their intranet. Intranets can be costly and complex, even when you bring them back to the most fundamental elements. I won’t speak out of school by revealing the figure but they spent 10-20% of what I have know other projects to outlay. Perhaps it’s a question of how you cut the numbers, but I can say that it is probably due in part to the iterative approach that they have been able to challenge the norm cost-wise.

Names names names

It’s always interesting to hear what an intranet is named (I’ve previously blogged about intranet names), here’s a few from the session:

  • Prestige Auto – Driveline
  • Robin Partington & Partners – (next to company name) …built around people… 
  • Heineken – Green room
  • Bureau Nationale Ombudsman – Nohow 

My advice

It’s clear that innovative and successful intranets are drive by user needs, that doesn’t negate the need for a little inspiration. I used the Intranet Innovation Awards as a resource throughout my last intranet project and recommend it to any team developing or improving on their intranet. Keep that user needs focus, but look outside for ideas.

I’m hoping to make it to the Melbourne roadshow event to get more detail on this years winners and commended entries.


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