#smilelondon 2016: a recap

The 8th #smilelondon conference took place on 14 November. icandi CQ attended the conference for the first time. We were not disappointed as the day was packed with interesting case studies, engaging content and interesting table discussions.


A few key takeouts and highlights:

  • Employee-generated video is changing the internal communication landscape. HSBC has restored the trust of their employees through video, and co-created a storytelling culture where, using Seenit, employees are the producers and storytellers – building an authentic narrative that’s by the people for the people.
  • An employee app, doesn’t need to replace your intranet, but can act as an internal communication lifeline, especially in highly decentralised organisations, like T-Systems Multimedia Solutions. T-Systems shared how they use MyMMS, an app provided by Staffbase, to connect with employees who aren’t desk-based. Great summary, here. (Surprising learning: while push notifications are carefully managed to avoid communication overload, the content via a push notification is three times more likely to be consumed! And interesting to learn, was that 50% of the value in an employee app is simply in having an App.)
  • Probably two of the most popular sessions were Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft talking about Microsoft Teams. A key theme in both these discussions, focused on the ability of the platforms to democratise the workplace.
  • Merck shared their digital workplace journey and how they started with governance rather than technology. As agents of creative intelligence, we loved their creative approach to driving adoption – a clear communication strategy, segmented messages per audience group and creative implementation. These three slides summarise this perfectly.
  • Another great case study that showcased the importance of creative and strategic communication to support adoption of a new platform was shared by Amec Foster Wheeler. Their digital workplace journey was ignited through the merger of the two companies and the need for a future-fit platform. We loved their launch campaign. This was positioned as ‘May the fourth be with you’ – not only the launch date of their ‘One Space’ ESN platform, but also the perfect analogy to communicate that just as Star Wars changed film forever, this platform would change employees’ digital workplace experience.
  • Finally, a great presentation by Simply-Succeed focused on the role of external change consultants and agencies in partnering with internal communicators at large organisations to support them in their efforts to build a digital workplace. They are critical friends to communicators, supporting from the outside in by conducting stakeholder interviews and communication; mediating conversations and collaboration between IT, HR and Internal Communications; providing training and guiding governance; defining process, developing strategies for and implementing launch campaigns and driving adoption; finally providing support in creating buzz and conducting health checks.


The above is just a quick snapshot of some of the day’s events. For more, have a read through #smilelondon tweets. Also, watch this space for learnings from two #smilelondon workshops we’ll be attending – virtual reality for business and co-creating authentic internal stories by combining social groups with employee-generated video.

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