Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m a creative communications professional. I wear a lot of hats. Both literally and metaphorically (and I’m always on the quest for magnificent millinery to fit my sizeable head). 2022 was an interesting year, personally and professionally.
International travel opened up once again – and I took full advantage. The nature of my work meant I could spend a little more time with friends and family, and I’ve been spending more time hanging out with fellow artists too!
10 highlights from my year include:
Devising the user-centred content strategy for a manufacturing company’s new website – I interviewed a diverse range of users including someone running the lab at a nuclear power plant in Canada!
I also visited Red Hat Towers, went out and about solving an immersive puzzle in Swansea, joined a photographer’s walk with photographer extraordinaire Danny Jackson, took part in a fantastic retreat run by Laura Brunton, filled a pub with friends and family for my 40th, ran a Taskmaster-style game event for ~35 people and more.
Independent consultants don’t operate in isolation, and 2022 feels like a year where I’ve properly (re)found my tribes – and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store.
I help organisations improve the way they communicate. I’m usually the techiest person in a comms team, or the commsiest person in a tech or product team – or am brought in to advise teams on the best way forward.
Over the years I’ve worked in-house, vendor and agency-side, freelance, as a contractor, consultant and associate. I’m often found working in and around intranets and internal comms, as well as managing digital products and projects for large organisations.
I bring an artist’s perspective to visualising business processes and customer journeys and help connect people and ideas. If you’d like to connect with me, drop me a line at lisa [@] lisariemers.com or find me on LinkedIn.
I have enjoyed going back through the presentations, trying not to forget the many things I heard, digesting things to become things I’ve learned and connecting with attendees over on the Twitter and on LinkedIn
I already wrote about 42ish things I heard there – with a morning full of lightning-quick talks and some longer debates, there are obviously MANY more than that – here’s a few more!
43-47ish We, like He-Man, have the POWER
While at times it may feel like our business systems are terrible aren’t up to the standard that we would like them to be, we as digital communicators, intranet managers, enablers of change, webmasters and/or portal wizards play a vital role in the success (or failure) of the projects we are part of.
48-52 Design adds value
It’s not about making things look “pretty”, but great design can be the difference between users loving, or grudgingly tolerating your site. Worry less about the technology and more about what you’re trying to achieve, make sure it works, and remember: good design saves lives*
*accidentally revealing sensitive user data
53-58 Work together with other stakeholders to make a trustworthy intranet
For me, a common theme of the day was making sure you get the right stakeholders involved at the right time – I think it can be easy to retreat behind a PID/backlog/*insert other projecty term here* without getting out and building your gang.
59 – 64 – Do not build unless they bang on
Possibly the most beautiful story of agile I’ve ever heard, Shaula’s award-winning intranet shows what happens when you prioritise only what is wanted, and delight people by keeping their expectations low but delivering wonders!
65-70 The further from base, the less they comply
A great talk on the challenges of dealing with hard to reach workers. As well as discussing the ways of building a perfect business case, which hits the needs of employees at all levels of your organisation, Sara discussed an interesting study about compliance. The further away an office is from HQ, the less likely they are to comply with your rules. So make the time to get out there and see the outliers!
Reasons to be cheerful – Seventy One, Two, Three
Tailor your use-cases for the types of adopter to build your advocates network and drive adoption at all levels throughout your organisation.
74-78 Be more like Taylor Swift*
There will always be doubters, so getting your advocates on side is vital. There will be a point where you become curators, rather than curators of the majority of content on your site.
79-84 – Fortune favours the bold – turn off legacy sites
Assumptions, like cooked frozen peas, rise to the surface pretty quickly – make sure you identify the real pain points. Tom did a great presentation on the many tools available to help make your intranet a success…. be bold, and turn off old tools to get users on your site!
85-89 – Get thee behind me, satan team
It can feel like a pretty lonely job, where you’re constantly writing your own job description, trying to deliver change in the face of adversity. Susan Quain gave some excellent advice about making the project yours, and demonstrating its value and importance to the organisation you are in.
90 – Enter the UNconference – it’s ok to ask your peers how they cope
I found Susan’s speech so inspiring that I ventured up on stage to ask an audience comprised of friends, peers and complete strangers about THEIR coping mechanisms, for the unconference break-out sessions.
91-98ish Governance, training, workflows, find your family, wine
There were so many things we covered in the afternoon sessions, though my top takeaways:
have a governance policy, but actually a process to follow it up, with people that are empowered to do it.
make connections with people in and outside of your organisation and see them often, to remind yourself why you’re doing this
try and get someone to have a look at your search logs and make some recommendations
steal lovingly from other people – most intranet-types are happy to share what they can to help you
one word search doesn’t have to be a problem
always make time for wine
99-100 – Have the wisdom to know the difference
Now James Robertson is a pretty inspirational chap, and gave me some great advice in the bar afterwards. I managed to reel off a list of challenges, many of which are completely outside of my control, and he pointed this out and reminded me that there are things I DO have power over, and that we can achieve great things when we focus.
I hadn’t realised, until my first write-up was retweeted by Francis Rowland, that there’s an official term – sketchnotes – for scrawling visual notes.
I’ve seen them around, usually created by skilled illustrators, but didn’t realise they were, in themselves, a medium. So there’s an unexpected takeaway too.
Phew. Thanks for reading this far! I found the day was probably one of the most valuable conference/events I’ve ever been to, albeit packed with so many top-level learnings that I’m still compiling my own internal code of it all.