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Sharpening Internal Communication – Innovation for 2015 and Beyond

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Sharpening Internal Communication – Innovation for 2015 and Beyond

What happens when you cross innovation with excellence?
Winning performances explode!

The combination of creative brilliance shared at the IoIC Central Region’s annual seminar and the inspirational excellence displayed by organisations at the awards dinner that followed made for an unforgettable experience for attendees. Read about all the winners and enjoy our Book of the Night – click here to download it.

The IoIC’s eighth annual seminar took place on Friday 27th February in Leicester and was attended by over 100 IC pros.

Attendees at the seminar heard from some of the country’s leading communication experts and practitioners on:

  • Transforming internal communication
  • Developing the powers that create engagement
  • Using humour, happiness and laughter to enhance communication
  • Embracing social media and applying new techniques
  • Helping leaders to build and repair trust among UK employees

Scarlet Design captured the themes throughout the day, creating giant visuals and featuring highly on the agenda were creative ninjas, green balloons, rocks of gratitude and Albert Einstein’s famous quote…

‘Insanity is defined as doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different response.’

The event was kicked off by Lesley Allman (@Allmancoms), MD of Allman Communication, Director of IoIC and judge of national and regional IC awards. Lesley encouraged attendees to record and share their thoughts and ideas throughout the day on the 3 Cs: –

  • Innovative Content– the latest thinking around stories, conversations and messages
  • Innovative Channels– fresh ways to reach your audiences – and to listen to and involve them
  • Innovative Capability– the skills and powers today’s IC professionals need to succeed

The scene was set by Richard Donovan (@RichardADonovan), Head of Internal Communications, UK&I who talked about transforming internal communication and how Experian’s award winning team has achieved success.

Experian’s UK&I Internal Communications Team was selected as IoIC’s 2014 ‘Best In-House Team of the Year’. Among that talented team is Cathy Power (@cathypower2003), Internal Communications Manager, Global Technology Services and IoIC committee member who helped to organise this years seminar and awards event. Cathy put together a fab storify of all the tweets from the seminar.

Richard spoke about the value of ‘empowering your team to play and be creative’ and the positive effect this has on engagement scores. He shared Experian’s use of design to create more engaging comms and their love of visuals -infographics rock for simplifying financial results – enabling people to understand and digest complex data.

Richard shared some powerful words from Jay-Z…

‘People are so preoccupied…
When you get their attention you need to make it count.’

Command the attention of your audience – ‘focus on telling stories. They work so much better than global straplines.’

Following the seminar, Richard shared a very personal and poignant post about his experience of addressing the crowd. I’d highly recommend you take a look.

Only 1 in 5 people are fully engaged at work

‘Direct line managers have the biggest impact on how we feel about work. As leaders yourselves, find your team’s sweet spot.’

Stuart Baldwin (@Stuart_Baldwin) from The Positive Company explored the science behind engagement and demonstrated the six practical leadership skills to create performance, empowerment and happiness:

Focus, Creativity, Purpose, Questions, Optimism, Impact.

Engagement is an emotion – what you focus on you get.

Ability, integrity and benevolence – the key drivers of leadership trust

Nick Terry from Top Banana (@WeAreTopBanana) and Katalin Illes and Martin Mathews, both from the University of Westminster talked about The UK Trust Crisis. Nick shared some of the findings from their new report, highlighting the critical role of 21st century leadership communication in repairing the broken trust of UK employees.

‘Laughter is a social lubricant’ helping people to connect

Stephanie Davies, the very natural and accomplished CEO from Laughology (@Laughology) demonstrated how to use humour, happiness & laughter to enhance communication. Stephanie discussed the concept that if you are happy, you are more productive, and happy teams = happy customers and a happy bottom line.

The latest trends in social media

Drew Benvie (@Drewb) from Batenhall shared his experiences of how social media looks now, how it will evolve in 2015 and what brands should plan for.

Workshop time

In addition to the top line-up of speakers, attendees were able to participate in three highly interactive and entertaining workshops.

Don’t Just Write Stories – Design & Play Them

Ezri Carlebach (@ezriel) shared an eclectic mix of arts and design practices to shed new light on the ancient craft of storytelling. He shared with us his storytelling template:

  • Act 1 – What’s the issue and why does it matter?
  • Act 2 – What happens next?
  • Act 3 – What’s the result?

Kick Start Your IC Career

Liam Fitzpatrick (@LiamFitz), IC Adviser and co-author of Internal Communications: A Manual for Practitioners, explored the options for developing IC careers further.

He asked the audience to consider their core competencies and to rate themselves against a number of skills from building effective relationships, consulting and coaching others to how they approach innovation and creativity and how they make things happen.

Become an Organisation of Creative Ninjas!

Tim Grice from Purple Tiger offered valuable insight into what stops organisations being more innovative and shared some practical tools to help generate more creative solutions.

Tim held an improvised brainstorm session with 6 attendees to plan an imaginary team night out. He asked the audience to burst balloons when they heard a ‘bad idea’ or one they didn’t like, demonstrating the damaging effect of negativity.

Congratulations to the IoIC for a fun, engaging and informative seminar, and to all those who went on to win awards at the event that followed.

What next from IoIC?

IoIC Live 2015 

The theme for this year’s IoIC Live will be ‘Agile IC’, as investing in your skills as a professional
communicator has never been so important.

The need for skilled, learned and agile IC professionals is growing as the IC function takes on more responsibility for driving and facilitating communication – as well as delivering it. IoIC Live 2015 will be staged at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, kicking off with an evening session on Thursday 30 April before a full day of debate, discussion, case studies and presentations by thought leaders on Friday 1 May. The event is also a great place to network, of course!


To find out more or book your place, email

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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

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Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

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Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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