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Entering Step Two’s Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards

Entering Step Two’s Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards

Over the last few years we’ve been supporters of the Intranet Innovation Awards. The Awards now have a new name and scope, and we’d love to see ClearBox customers and friends submit entries. This guest post by Steve Bynghall explains all.

Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards
One of the highlights of my working year is managing Step Two’s Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards, a global competition for leading-edge intranets and other channels within the wider digital workplace.  Now in our tenth year, we were previously called the Intranet Innovation Awards, but decided to change our name, recognising that many submissions actually related to platforms beyond the intranet.  The 2016 Awards have just opened for entries.

Working on the Awards means I get to see numerous inspiring examples of the hard work and creativity of digital workplace teams from all over the world, a privilege which satisfies my inherent intranet-geekiness.

There’s also a great sense of community in working all these teams as well as our judging panel of international intranet and digital workplace experts.  There’s a lot of talented and friendly people out there.  We’re also delighted that ClearBox’s own Sam Marshall has agreed to be one of our judges again and given up his spare time for the third year running,

Why competitions have value

Step Two’s Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards is one of a number of competitions within the global intranet and digital workplace community. Different competitions have a different emphasis. Some focus on design, technology, the vendor community, content or internal communications. Others are limited to a country, tied to a conference or a specific customer community. We’re more well-established than some and founded on some important principles, for example being vendor-neutral and completely free to enter with no hidden costs.

In general, competitions and awards do perform a valuable service in giving intranet and digital workplace teams some well-earned and much-needed recognition among peers and also some exposure within their own company.

Awards also play an additional role in helping provide case studies, examples of work and approaches which can be an extremely useful reference point for other teams.  In preparing this post I asked Sam for his thoughts, and he agrees:

“For me the awards are all about stories that are worth sharing in the intranet and digital workplace world. The winners are rarely the ones with the big budgets; instead they are the teams that pinpoint a need and address it in a creative way. Even when we can’t copy them directly, we can still take inspiration from them.”

Accolade’s accolade

A great example of a winning entry (from 2014) which both Sam and I admire is Accolade, a small social housing organisation with 200 employees based in the Netherlands.

Accolade wanted to develop a more transparent, collaborative and efficient organisation, which could help them deal with the high number of calls they received from tenants. The solution, part of a wider digital transformation, integrated the intranet with the company’s knowledge and CRM system to ensure customer information was easily accessible for customer-facing staff. Where customer queries were more complex, a structured task management process was integrated with social tools, to directly involve subject matter experts in a more transparent way.

Accolade home page

Above: Accolade’s intranet homepage. Screenshot appears courtesy of Accolade and Step Two.

There were multiple takeaways in Accolade’s approach that are inspiring and useful for other organisations:

  • The scale of the digital ambition and the strategic context from a small organisation is inspiring
  • The approach of mixing tasks and social tools is genuinely innovative
  • The design of the intranet is very attractive
  • There are some nice touches – for example being able to add comments to the widget of organisational KPIs on the homepage to make suggestions to improve the numbers

In his judges notes, Sam commented “Accolade stand out for having a very clear, measurable purpose for how their intranet should help their organisation, and unusually put the front office first. The result is like CRM but less rigid in process…they deliver it well and with a degree of flair.”

We were also able to meet the combined team from the client and the vendor in an Awards ceremony in London.

Entering the Awards

It’s likely you’ll have a solution totally different from Accolade, but if you have an intranet or digital workplace initiative which you’re proud of, then we want to hear from you. We’re accepting submissions up to June 10th across four different categories:

  1. Intranet essentials (new intranets or rework, core intranet elements such as search or people directory)
  2. Social, collaboration and communication (initiatives which showcase social networking, collaboration and internal communications)
  3. Business, mobile and frontline solutions (initiatives which deliver a specific business solution or solve a problem, serve the needs of frontline or customer-facing staff or showcase enterprise mobility)
  4. Digital workplace (initiatives which take a holistic view of the experience of work, agile working, or an element from the wider digital workplace


Winners get a lovely glass trophy and the recognition they deserve. Full details are available on our entry page.  We look forward to receiving your entries!

Article by Steve Bynghall.

Wedge Black

I support ClearBox in everything we do online, and I assist clients that are considering redeveloping or replacing their intranet platform. I worked in global and regional organisations as the intranet manager as part of the comms team, before becoming an intranet consultant. I'm the founder of the Intranet Now annual conference. I’ve tweeted about intranets and comms for fifteen years now.

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