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2019 has been another very busy year here at DWG! As well as working on our normal programme of member meetings, executive visits, research reports, online sessions, consulting projects and benchmarking assessments, we also managed to deliver another DW24, curated the Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) conference in Chicago and announced a new partnership with Avanade. Phew! We also continued to publish articles, thought leadership items and opinion pieces on a huge range of digital workplace topics, not just to members via our secure extranet but also to the wider community through this expert blog.

We do like to be busy and it’s also meant that the months have really flown by. It’s hard to believe we’re already at the time when we traditionally round up some of our favourite and most popular articles from the blog. So, without any more ado, here are ten of our favourite and most popular articles on intranet and digital workplace themes from 2019. Happy reading!

Paul Miller’s top ten digital workplace predictions for 2020

Each year DWG’s CEO and Founder, Paul Miller, provides his eagerly awaited predictions for the following year. What trends will we see evolving for the digital workplace and across the wider digital sphere? This is always a fascinating read and a great way to start thinking about some of the issues to consider for your 2020 strategy planning, as well as enabling meaningful conversations with your team and your stakeholders. Paul also gives his view on how his predictions from the previous year fared, as well as making one “super prediction”. This year Paul believes that organizations will start to restructure themselves to take advantage more fully of the benefits of the digital workplace – for example, looking towards more agile and less hierarchical organizational structures.

User-centred design goes to summer camp

In October, Andrea Brant (who has recently joined us here at DWG from Adobe) gave us some reflections on how an exercise on user-centred design (UCD) in summer camp helped her to revisit some key UCD principles that can easily be applied in the workplace, sometimes at no cost. Andrea outlined three key principles – talk to the people; buy your users a cup of coffee; and know what you’re asking for. If you’re trying to think about taking a more UCD-focused approach to your digital workplace or intranet in 2020, and you haven’t budgeted for an expensive design lab, then this is a great post to kick off your thinking.

What role does the digital workplace play in customer experience?

Many of us in the digital workplace space see an obvious link between employee experience and customer experience – a great digital workplace supports improved processes for customers, for example. It’s also a theme that’s been covered in academia. However, not all our stakeholders are necessarily convinced. In this post we look at this hot topic in more detail, uncovering where the evidence is and the multiple ways in which the digital workplace does contribute to customer-facing experiences. We also suggest that uncovering the connections can really support a business case for digital workplace investment.

No offices – but instead (sometimes) we live together

At DWG, we often find our members, as well as the general digital workplace community, are interested in how we actually work, especially as we don’t have any regular physical headquarters. In this interesting post, Paul Miller reflects on the now tried-and-tested practice of our management team renting a place to live together for a few days from time to time, in what has become known internally as the “Big Brother House”. Paul explains the value of being in a distributed and virtual company, but also the power that face-to-face meetings bring to this way of working. (Note: There’s also a picture where the management team manage accidentally to recreate a famous image from Reservoir Dogs!)

Winner of the Digital Workplace of the Year 2019 – American Express

One of our favourite activities of the year is our involvement with the Digital Workplace of the Year awards, which celebrate leading-edge digital workplaces and great digital workplace leaders. We cover these in the expert blog and this post gives the lowdown on the 2019 overall winner, American Express. The article covers the company’s successful approaches such as: strategy and governance, how the team has put users at the centre of its digital experience, and more. It’s also worth reading about the various runners-up, such as Barclays, as well as the Digital Workplace Leader of the Year – all covered in the blog!

How to encourage and measure impactful digital collaboration

We’re exceptionally proud of the DWG research programme, where we explore cutting-edge topics in greater depth and produce a series of reports, mainly for DWG members although we occasionally make some publicly available. We also share insights from the member reports with the wider community; this insightful post from Shimrit Janes contains some takeaways from her recent report on collaboration. The post covers the components of impactful collaboration, some related action points, and guidance on measurement; it’s a useful article for anyone thinking about collaboration in the digital workplace.

How digital workplace mediums convey powerful messages to employees

Back in May, regular DWG contributor Ephraim Freed posted this thoughtful article that considers the messages a digital workplace really conveys to employees. Taking Marshall McLuhan’s phrase the “medium is the message” as the starting point, Ephraim unpacks the concept and covers what different channels such as Instagram both explicitly and subtly tell us. He then explores how many digital workplaces actually tell employees they have low value, especially when there is one-way communication and investment has been low. Finally, Ephraim writes about the factors to consider in digital workplace design that tell employees they really do matter.

Why Working out Loud is good news for employees, organizations and the digital workplace

“Working out Loud (WOL)’’ is a movement that emphasizes the power of using social networks to share work in progress and connect with colleagues. WOL has now established itself as a credible movement and concept that is being used within organizations. This article argues that WOL has many benefits, including: driving usage and adoption of the digital workplace; supporting digital literacy; and encouraging interaction and dialogue between employees. This last point means WOL can even support health and well-being initiatives and really drive a sense of community.

Eight digital workplace and intranet insights from the DWG annual survey

Every year we carry out an annual survey of DWG members and non-members to establish trends in intranets and digital workplaces. This post details eight of the key trends from the late 2018 survey, including: strong levels of interest in employee experience; chatbots featuring highly in organizational plans; and continuing improvements to enterprise mobility. It was particularly interesting to see how search is becoming a growing strategic priority for digital workplaces. (Note that, if you’re reading this in December 2019, it’s not too late to contribute to the 2020 annual survey – it should only take 20 minutes of your time, and you will receive a detailed set of results.)

Eight things we learnt from the Digital Nations track of DW24

In February we held DW24, our 24-hour online festival showcasing some of the world’s leading digital workplaces and thought leaders. This is an innovative format we’ve been running for more than a decade and it always provides an amazing confirmation of the power of digital and strength of the global community. In this post, DWG’s Shimrit Janes considers some of the key learnings and themes from the “Digital Nations” track, including how to move towards a more digitally integrated, effective and ethical public sphere worldwide. Shimrit covers: the impact of AI; addressing inequalities; and the growth of digital hubs in places like Nairobi.

By the way, you can pre-register for DW24 in 2020. See you in 2020!

We hope you enjoyed the blog this year. We’ll be back through 2020, bringing you more expert insights and opinions about the digital workplace. See you on the other side!

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About the author

Steve-BynghallSteve Bynghall is a freelance consultant, researcher and writer specializing in the digital workplace, intranets, knowledge management, collaboration and other digital themes. He is DWG’s Research and Knowledge Lead, a benchmark evaluator and research analyst for DWG. Steve previously worked at accountancy firm BDO in a variety of knowledge roles, including managing its global extranet programme.

Connect with Steve on Twitter: @bynghall or on Google +.

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