SimplyIC Event Download

31 May 2023
Capturing the best bits of an event is never easy, but when you’ve had 2 full days each with three streams of concurrent talks it’s nigh on impossible. So, to make it easy for you (and our content writer…), here are the broad strokes on the three big themes that emerged: AI meets IC, accessibility for all, and how to embed and engage.

AI meets IC

The conference keynote speaker on Day 1 was Nina Schick – expert on generative AI. Nina certainly set the tone for the conference, as over the coming sessions AI featured prominently. Her message? It’s going to have an enormous impact, it’s going to “change what it means to be human” – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a disaster. As internal communicators, Nina says our jobs will be more important than ever to communicate changes in processes and strategy with the rise of operational workplace AI.  Throughout the day we heard from Intranet providers already integrating AI into their platforms, essentially creating creators who can write a blog or policy in a fraction of the time and format it perfectly. The future is already here.

Accessibility for all 

The SimplyIC Conference this year highlighted the importance of making communications more accessible and inclusive for diverse audiences. One particularly impactful session was led by Rina Paredes, who shared her experience working for CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development). Rina discussed the challenges of creating communications for hard-to-reach areas with limited digital literacy and often affected by crises. She stressed the need to recognise privilege, power dynamics, biases, and inclusion in order to foster a culture of openness and trust. This thought-provoking session reminded us of the major challenge to accessible and inclusive communication: assumptions. We were reminded not to take our access to technology for granted and to be mindful to stop using phrases such as ‘launching in Spring’ – as Rina rightly stated “Spring where!!”


Another highlight of the conference was the personal stories shared by Aoife Casson and Tristan Lavendar, who discussed their experiences being neurodivergent. They highlighted the commendable efforts of Alzheimer’s Research UK and Philips in creating a more inclusive workplace for neurodivergent colleagues. Throughout the session, they emphasised that the journey towards inclusivity requires ongoing commitment, continuous improvement, and how important it is to involve neurodivergent individuals in decision-making processes, #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs. They shared practical steps to make the workplace more accommodating, and creating an environment where difference can flourish, such as providing a variety of options to process information, sharing agendas beforehand and summarising key points and actions at the end of meetings etc. Communicators have the power to change hearts and minds, said Tristan at the end of the session, breaking the stigma surrounding neurodivergence.


“Fruit salad is better than a bowl of one fruit” – Aoife Casson

Embed and engage

This will always be on the agenda at an IC conference worth its salt, and it was great to hear really candid case studies that illustrated practical steps and best-practice for sustained change and engagement. First up – with FirstUp – was Murray Phair from M&G. His story began with 13 organisational statements: two different purposes, a vision, two aims, two missions, a set of behaviours etc… Even the senior leaders were mixing messages! Through a rigorous consultation process of research, development, and then testing again in focus groups they created a mission that struck home.

“If you throw 5 tennis balls at someone, they’re not going to catch anything. Toss one ball and they’re going to catch it.” – Murray Phair

Howard Krais, previously of Johnson Matthey and now co-founder of True, gave a brilliant case study of creating and empowering a global network of communications advocates. 79% of employees say they trust their coworkers ahead of HR and their CEO – the business case writes itself. Howard created the PionAir programme. People volunteered or were put forward by their local leader across their offices, each PionAir received rigorous training and were supported in having conversations with their manager around the time investment/time away from their BAU work. What resulted was a global network of people building understanding at a community level, creating rich feedback opportunities and a sense of connection and investment across borders.
The above is just the tip of the Simply ICeberg. If your curiosity is piqued by any of the above, let us know and we can offer more depth! We’ll also be sharing some more bitesized content of the sessions we couldn’t fit into this download so stay tuned. Thank you SimplyIC and to all of the amazing presenters who shared their wisdom, mistakes and innovations to help the growing community.
Written by Millie, Content Specialist, and Lauren, Account Manager
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