The Intranet Innovation Awards were launched by Step Two Designs in 2007. I have had the privilege of being a judge since their inception, which means that I have looked at around 150 of the most innovative intranets in the world in the last seven years. This year the quality of the entries was very high indeed, and as I went through the initial shortlist I heard myself saying “Wow!”, “Yes!”, “That’s neat!” and similar expressions on a very frequent basis. The report itself is also of a quality to match the award winners, and even has an index!  It runs to 250 pages, compared to the 214 of the 2012 report. This year the entries were categorised into core functionality, social, collaboration and communication, business and front line, enterprise mobility and intranet rework. This approach illustrates the effort that Step Two puts in to developing the scope and value of the awards and also that intranets can meet a range of corporate and employee objectives.

It’s not easy to know where to start in reviewing the award winners and the report. To start with the Platinum Award winners Barclays Bank (UK)  and Hansen Yunken (Australia) stood out as exceptional right from the outset of the judging process and this is the first time that there have been two Platinum Awards presented. The Gold Award winners were AMP, Bouygues Telecom, Calgary Board of Education, Coca-Cola Enterprises, FortisBC, Henry County Health Center, Mayo Clinic, PwC Australia, Virgin America and Virtuos. Arup, Arup Pty, Disnety Consumer Products, Gold Coast Hospital ED, Klick Health, Queensland University of Technology and Shepherd & Wedderburn gained Commendations. What is immediately obvious from this list is the mix of familiar and unfamiliar names and the diverse business areas of the award winners.

James Robertson has summarised some of the key themes this year and there is nothing I can usefully add except to echo his comment that the vision and sophistication of the intranets, especially the way in which they support core business activities, says that intranets are certainly not on the verge of extinction. What I certainly can do is commend the quality and value of the report. Steve Bynghall and the Step Two team have produced a superb report despite the considerable variation in the way that the organisations submitted the information about their intranets. Clearly a lot of subsequent discussions took place to get the best possible screen shots and to bring out the particular attributes of each of the intranets!  The production quality is very high indeed.

Comparing this report with the Intranet Design Awards from the Nielsen Norman Group is not useful. They have two very different objectives and yet both provide an invaluable insight into what makes and what it takes to deliver a high-value intranet. I would doubt that any reader of the IIA report would be able to replicate exactly what any single entrant had achieved but collectively should be able to use elements of each of the winners as a constant source of inspiration for their own work. As well as the report on 2013 you can also buy a package of all the reports for not much more than the price of the 2013 report.

Martin White