ThoughtSummit conference recap

ThoughtSummit conference recap https://www.thoughtfarmer.com/app/uploads/2018/07/Task-testing-illustration.png

Whether you attended ThoughtSummit and want a recap, or you want to know what you missed out on, we’ve got you covered.

And that’s a wrap!

We just finished hosting one of our favorite events: ThoughtSummit. The bi-annual conference attracted dozens of communication, IT, and HR professionals, who gathered for two full days of inspiring and engaging sessions.

We also had some fun along the way including a trek up a local mountain, as well as a post-event social, where if you were lucky enough you would have seen some of the ThoughtFarmer staff line dance.

If you’re feeling like you missed out (or you were there and wanna relive some of the amazing talks), here is a recap of each session:

Are you a ‘commsplainer’?

Keynote speakers Chuck Gose and Kristin Hancock kicked things off with a humorous yet informative session where they forced us to examine common excuses communicators often make. Using the term ‘commsplaining’, Chuck and Kristen showed us that things like ‘survey fatigue’ aren’t as real as we think and our attention spans really aren’t the size of a goldfish’s. The session ended with attendees collectively taking a ‘commsplaining’ pledge.

Taking intranet customization to the next level

Sean Biehle, Head of Creative Service at MedData walked us through the launch of their intranet in 2016. Prior to their intranet, MedData had acquired a few companies and struggled with engaging thousands of dispersed employees. By leveraging the ThoughtFarmer Professional Services team, Sean and his team gamified their intranet by creating an entire badge system, and in doing so saw a major increase in engagement with the platform. Sean also reminded us of the importance of mixing up content pieces and trying different engagement approaches.

The future of the workforce

Ladies Learning Code co-founder Melissa Sariffodeen shared an insightful, and at times daunting, view of the future of work. As a proud millennial Melissa’s passion and enthusiasm were infectious, but most importantly, her talk was surprisingly reassuring. Yes, 42% of all jobs are predicted to be automated in the next 20 years, but as Melissa reminded us, creativity, problem-solving, resilience, and ingenuity are all traits that cannot (at least not yet) be automated by technology. Melissa also stressed the importance of creating continuous learning opportunities within the workplace.

SharePoint or ThoughtFarmer?

Miguel Tena, a self-confessed techie teamed up with Kanwal Khipple, a leading User Experience expert within the SharePoint industry. The two hosted a discussion on SharePoint and offered up advice on how communications professionals and intranet managers can work better with IT teams. Miguel and Kanwal emphasized the significance of examining the users’ journeys, rather than getting caught up in specific tools.

Lessons from two different intranet launches

Rob Lumely, a Digital Solutions Specialist, shared his expertise and experience on launching two separate intranets. Rob stressed the importance of buy-in from leadership, content migration, and pre-launch activities. Rob also reiterated how an intranet launch is never really over. Intranets require constant nurturing and attention, and surveys can play an important role in understanding how to keep employees engaged in their intranet, as well as setting benchmarks.

Stepping outside your comfort zone

As the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland, Julie Angus knows a thing or two about stepping outside your comfort zone. While the majority of us will never endure the depth of her experience, Julie nonetheless delivered a presentation that was surprisingly relatable. Her captivating and inspiring talk was a reminder to all of us to embrace our inner child, take baby steps, push our boundaries, and use criticism to grow. But most importantly, we should remember to celebrate our successes.

The power of a story

Natasha Langlois, Strategic Advisor for Destination Canada, captivated attendees when she shared the creative ways she and her team engage employees on their intranet. Fuelled by a mandate to increase growth and visitation to Canada, Natasha and her team relied on the power of storytelling to get employees excited and interested in corporate initiatives. By leveraging their intranet, Destination Canada was able to recognize employee achievements, engage remote employees, and ultimately celebrate corporate success.

Content and structure matters

As the Senior Strategist for Content Strategy Inc., Blaine Kyllo knows the importance of a solid intranet information architecture. Tasked with creating a knowledge centre for call centre agents at BC Hydro, Blaine shared how he was able to increase the findability and readability of intranet content for call centre employees. His organized and methodical approach not only reduced call time response but also saved the organization almost $250,000. Blaine reminded us all that a simple uncomplicated system is central to a good customer system.

Building efficiencies for a growing non-profit

Susan Hancock, Senior Manager of Communications and Community Development, Coast Mental Health, shared how their organization overcame traditional communications challenges in a non-profit. By conducting in-depth interviews, Susan’s team were able to create intranet personas, which evolved into effective intranet use cases. This enabled the non-profit to build their intranet off real business needs. The result was a new knowledge hub, increased employee recognition, informed employees, and real-time conversations across different locations. Best of all, a survey revealed a measurable and positive difference.

Do you need a chatbot?

Intranet guru and ThoughtFarmer co-founder Chris McGrath shared his insight and experience on the topic of chatbots. Chris walked us through the evolution of chatbot technology and which scenarios lend themselves best to a chatbot. While chatbots might not be ideal right now for your organization, it was certainly fascinating to see just how much information can be centralized within a chatbot. Chris ended the session with a strong yet informative message for all of us: start experimenting now because chatbots are coming.

There’s a form for that

ThoughtFarmer’s user design experts Trevor Allen and Jessica Dill gave us a live demo of ThoughtFarmer’s new feature: ThoughtFarmer FormFlow. Launched late last year, attendees learned just how simple it was to set up a form, manage multiple reviews, create workflows, and how to achieve specific goals in FormFlow.

What is your strength?

Ever wondered why some work tasks you loved, while others you loathed? There is a reason for that! Tracy Hutton, VP of Coaching at the Marcus Buckingham Foundation, showed us all that we each have many strengths that make us unique, and that tapping into these specific strengths could go a long way in achieving satisfaction and happiness in the workplace, and even more, it can help increase actual job performance.

Where are we headed?

Finally, ThoughtSummit 2019 concluded with both a retrospective and introspective by ThoughtFarmer President Darren Gibbons. As Darren shared, the future of the workplace is digital, and therefore it is important that organizations strive to create the ultimate digital employee experience. This experience shifts the focus to technology that employees want to use, can use, and enjoy using. It puts employees at the heart, with a focus on their engagement.

Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.

May 16, 2019

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