Roundup Uncategorised

2022 – the international year of many hats

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.

From L:R: 1. Visiting Red Hat Towers 2. Featuring in The Times as part of the Colour Walk 3. My new “press hat” on way back from Australia 4. My QuizMaster hat 5. Wearing my large oversize hat at the Colour Walk 6. Wearing a crown as Queen of Hearts 7. Wearing a sun hat while on a photographer’s walk 8. Wearing a headpiece from Natalie Webb (pic by Danny Jackson)

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:

  1. 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!
  2. Contributing to the Clearbox Employee Apps and Employee Experience platform reports, which improved my knowledge of the tech available to help organisations communicate
  3. Spending time with the tribe of wonderful, colourful creative people at the Colour Walks in London and Brighton
  4. Establishing a local meet-up called #ItsPubOClock to help connect others like me who often work from home, but want to meet new people.
  5. Helping a communications team consider what good might look like for their intranet, and unpack their existing governance challenges
  6. Taking part in Dulcie’s creative Sketchfest workshops and Sketchybition and improving my sketching abilities
  7. Being part of the agenda of the fabulous IABC World Conference in New York, and finally finding a membership organisation that feels right for me and my skillset.
  8. Delivering content design training to large organisations with Christine at Crocstar to help people understand about creating accessible content
  9. Attending the Step Two digital employee experience conference in person in Sydney – reconnecting with some wonderful intranerds and meetings others in person for the first time
  10. Co-hosting an episode of the WB-40 podcast as well as getting to meet some of the gang in-person, too

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.

L:R 1. With Catherine Grenfell at the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney 2. With the Step Two gang in Sydney 3. At a Colour Walk in Leake Street 4. With Christine Cawthorne 5. With Laura Brunton at the IABC event in London 6. At IABC World Conference in New York 7. With Kurt Kragh Sorenson in London

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 [@] or find me on LinkedIn.

Reflections Uncategorised

43-101 things I heard at #IntranetNow

In the week or so that’s followed the wonder that was the 2015 Intranet Now Conference I have been mulling over my notes.

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.

My take on James Robertson's talk @James_Steptwo
James Robertson on being the conduit for sharing good stuff, well.

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

James Robertson on adding value through design
I have to be honest, this “Show Pay” CSS button, showing how payroll data can be linked, but then hidden/revealed, was one of my favourite take-aways from the day, and is specifically what prompted me this afternoon to go back through my notes and get the rest of this post written.

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!

My take on @Shaulinaz's presentation
@Shaulinaz on making an intranet to delight, on a shoestring budget

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!

Sara Redin’s talk on building the perfect biz case, and compliance

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.

Kevin Cody on not falling down the adoption chasm
Kevin Cody on not falling down the adoption chasm

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.

Jen Hayward on doubters and reaching the tipping point
Jen Hayward on doubters and reaching the tipping point * Jen did NOT mention Taylor Swift at ANY POINT

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!

Tom Gillaman on the tools you need to make you BOLD
Tom Gillaman on the tools you need to make you BOLD

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.

Susan Quain on OWNING your project

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.

Check out this and all of the other wonderful photographs on the day on Flickr – don’t forget to ask Wedge if you want to use them.

Seriously though

Woman on the edge
Look. At. The. Fear. Captured beautifully by Antonio Salgado, Capturise, via the Intranet Now Conference.

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.

101 – Sketchnotes are a thing

Thanks again to Wedge and Brian for my prize copy of Jane McConnell’s The Organization in the Digital Age, largely for my tweet of Paul Zimmerman‘s talk on the Intranet of Things.

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.

All of the things are available on the Intranet Now website – I’m going home to make use of #98!