TUESDAY 25 JUN 2013 2:47 PM


This weekend, the UK’s internal communications community swarmed Richmond’s riverside eBay campus for The IC Crowd’s first-ever unconference. The Big Yak was designed to get people thinking about ideas. That along with eating an ungodly amount of cupcakes.

The unconference format allowed attendees to design their own programmes, lead sessions and contribute their thoughts on best practice, case studies and new technologies.

Highlights of the day included a good deal of conversation surrounding engaging hard-to-reach audiences, an interest in measurement and evaluation and, of course, a sizable dose of social. When addressing the hard-to-reach problem, many focused on line managers, as either those best placed to communicate with frontline employees or those of whom stop all communications from the executive level from reaching the frontline. One attendee, however, said, “Line managers are the biggest communications team in any organisation.” The challenge that remained was engaging them.

Social media and new technologies also captured the imaginations of The Big Yak goers, as did the love-it-or-hate-it quality of video’s use in internal comms. In the late afternoon’s session on gamification, Words and Pictures’ Steve Murgatroyd led the discussion about when, where and how to use gamification effectively. An attendee said, “It’s not about the game, it’s about what it’s trying to achieve.”

The unconference, headed up by the dynamic trio of Jenni Wheller, Rachel Miller and Dana Leeson of The IC Crowd, concluded after a day chock-full of 16+ sessions, career counseling, mentorship matchups and plenary debates about all things IC. Lessons were learned and ideas shared at the informal unconference. Not to mention the cupcakes.