Doing and enabling

In our communications for EMBL, we have traditionally highlighted what EMBL does: research, training, services and so on. As I have said before, what EMBL does in each of these areas is not unique in the life sciences. Efforts to describe what we do as unique will therefore rely on things that are difficult to substantiate such as, “EMBL strives for excellence” or “the EMBL spirit is unique”. I’m not saying that these things are not true, but they are not tangible and they are difficult to describe and justify. So what tangible thing or things might we use to differentiate and position EMBL? Continue reading “Doing and enabling”

New team members

Chloë dropped in to say hello today – she’s been on maternity leave since the summer. There were so many introductions to make, so many new team members to meet! It’s prompted me to put together this post to welcome the amazing new people that have joined the Strategy and Communications team over the past couple of months.

In no particular order: Continue reading “New team members”

Can EMBL be the next CERN?

I have lost count of the number of times that I have heard the question, Why is CERN so well known, while EMBL, which also supports amazing science, is not?

I worked in the CERN communications team for seven years and I’ve now been at EMBL for close to two years, so I have some insights – if not answers – to share on this topic. I am sharing these now, just as we begin a process of drafting a communications strategy for EMBL with stakeholders across the organisation. I suspect that the development of EMBL’s communications strategy will prompt some people to ask themselves the question, Can EMBL be the next CERN? Continue reading “Can EMBL be the next CERN?”

Corporate design sprint 2 retrospective

The second corporate design sprint (CDsprint2), led by Tabea, started to look at the thorny issue of sub brands: Does EMBL need sub brands, and if so, how should they be treated?

First, let me take a minute to outline what we’re doing here generally. The idea of these corporate design sprints is to work in an iterative, consultative and open manner to develop a new design system for EMBL. Continue reading “Corporate design sprint 2 retrospective”

Intra1: outcomes of the first intranet research sprint

The purpose of intra1 was to understand how people currently use EMBL’s intranets. Specifically, we wanted to:

  1. Understand audience behaviours
  2. Define audience segments
  3. Define the functions and the scope of EMBL’s intranets
  4. Inform the EMBL community about projects to rebuild EMBL’s core websites

We conducted this research with a view to, in the long term, building a new, single, intranet that can serve the entire organisation.
Continue reading “Intra1: outcomes of the first intranet research sprint”

Call for volunteer digital diarists

We are looking for EMBL people to help with our intranet user research. By keeping a digital diary you can help us to better understand how you use digital resources in the course of your work and home life. This will help us to design things that work better for you. We are asking for this help with a view to developing a new EMBL-wide intranet over the coming years.

Download the digital diary form [PDF]

Continue reading “Call for volunteer digital diarists”

Redesigning EMBL’s websites

We are going to be kicking off some long-term projects to redesign EMBL’s web presence. Before we begin, it’s important to establish a clear understanding of what we mean by this. Are we talking about:

  • A new website?
  • The website?
  • All of EMBL’s websites?

We are thinking of this work as 3 distinct projects:

  1. EMBL’s main website (
  2. An intranet for EMBL
  3. A website focussing on the scientific services that EMBL offers

Continue reading “Redesigning EMBL’s websites”

What does a story owner do?

If you have attended one our weekly production meetings you will have noticed that when we agree to run a story and we have defined broadly how it should be treated, one of the first things we do is nominate a story owner. What does this mean?

Story owners have two key functions:

  1. Liaising with the story’s stakeholders
  2. Liaising with the story’s content producers

In some senses it’s a role that coordinates the production process of the story, looking both outwards (towards stakeholders who have an interest in the story or the audiences to which it will be told) and inwards (to the writers, illustrators, video producers and so on).
Continue reading “What does a story owner do?”

How to pitch a story

Every Monday at 10.30am we run a meeting to gather ideas for stories we should be telling via EMBL’s channels. You are welcome to come along to these story meetings (usually held in room B18 in the ATC – accessible via video conference if you’re not in Heidelberg) and to pitch your own ideas. Please be prepared to explain:

  • Key message
  • Audience
  • Hook

Let’s go into each of these in some more detail. Continue reading “How to pitch a story”