Among Online Squirrels and Networking Ninjas

-Experiences and reflections from the J. Boye 2010 Aarhus Conference.

“Martin, Have you met <insert name>….?” – That must be the sentence I heard the most times at last week’s Conference in Aarhus, and at the same time it describes this year’s experience very well. This was the 3rd time I attended this conference and it is very clear to me that if I have to point at one thing that sets this conference apart from other events that I’ve attended, it must be the big focus on the social/networking dimension. Janus and the rest of the team work tirelessly in facilitating connections between delegates – almost to the extent that, when you leave the conference, it feels like having a new, extended family – if not that, you certainly feel like a “networking ninja” with all the new connections you’ve made.

Eric Karjaluoto started the event off with a keynote about the importance of speaking human – a topic which turned out to be very symptomatic for the tracks I followed during the two days. Speak human, Be honest, Focus on the users, and variations of this was repeated over and over. Personally I find it puzzling that people – we – are still struggling with this dimension of communicating business messages – it shouldn’t be so hard, but I guess it is! Personally, my best reminder to speak human is a drawing from Gapingvoid with the text: “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face” – It’s as simple as that!!

I had the pleasure to present a case study at the intranet track on Wednesday with Jane McConnell and Ernst Decsey. Jane McConnell was presenting some of the results of the Global Intranet Trends 2011 report and as always there are plenty of interesting findings here – like this one:

From the Global Intranet Trends 2011 report

The above figure shows how leaders (Organisations where the intranet has become “the way of working” – or “Stage 3 intranets”, if you are familiar with Jane’s work) really are moving ahead. I have compared this with last year’s report and interestingly enough it shows growth in all areas whereas the “others” (or stage 1+2) primarily show development in the “Front Door” area. Could this be a sign that the financial crisis has increased the emphasis on the intranet in organisations who have a well-functioning intranet while development has halted for others? Regardless of the reason, this shows that we still have a vast, unexploited potential here, and it doesn’t matter whether you are a leader or you ‘just’ aspire to be one.

You can read much more about the Global Intranet Trends for 2011 at Jane’s website + you can find out how you can get hold of your own copy.

Thank you to all the other online squirrels who hopefully, like me, gathered enough inspiration to last through the winter. A special thanks to J. Boye team + volunteers for yet another great event. See you in 2011.

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3 Responses to Among Online Squirrels and Networking Ninjas

  1. It was great talking with you last week, Martin.

    I thought your presentation on your activities last year was outstanding. What you did during a low budget period has given you a very solid foundation for the future. More companies should do this, even if they are not in a low period!

  2. Thanks, Jane. I’m glad you found my presentation useful. The foundation is now in place – now we just need management to commit to renovating the house :-)

  3. [...] new friends” part is one of the things that sets this conference apart from many other events as the J. Boye team has always been doing a fantastic job as busy bees introducing delegates to one another, thus planting seeds for rapidly growing networks [...]

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