When I think of what Intranet Now should be like as a conference, I think about the first intranet I worked on in a small government department in Northern Ireland. Those who bravely set it up and ran it (some technologists and some administrators) had zero experience (this was 2001) and they made plenty of mistakes. How much would they have liked to meet people trying to do the same things? How much could others have learnt from their mistakes?

Of course now there are a lot of voices on the web, talking about intranets; there are free books and blogs and ‘10 things you should never do on your intranet’ and ‘5 things that you maybe should do’ articles. Some of these are really excellent but it’s not the same as meeting people.

The really exciting thing about Intranet Now is the chance for serendipitous encounters and the opportunity to discuss topics that you hadn’t considered and would not have searched for.

Most conferences feature case studies but sometimes these are like old style ‘Satisfied Customer Stories’ written by marketing departments featuring mug shots of smiling customers who nobody quite believes can have had just so perfect an experience. Online customer reviews, about real problems encountered or real successes, have largely replaced these. These are way more powerful than edited stories of smooth implementation. For Intranet Now we have made it a fundamental principle that people are able to talk about failure as well as success, because that’s where real learning happens.

So come to Intranet Now, meet someone new and talk to them about how you failed and what you learnt.

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