Creating a Website from Scratch – Part 1 – Learnings

Bear&Blocks=Pt1LearningsOn February 4th, Creating the Future held its first strategy meeting, to begin the process of blowing up our website and starting over.

Because the point of our website will be to accomplish Creating the Future’s mission, we began by sharing this video about just that – what it will take to accomplish our mission (or at least we tried to share it!). We then spoke about the mission: to ensure that everyone, everywhere, is naturally bringing out the best in each other by the questions we ask in our day-to-day lives.

We also shared that our “target audience” is not individuals or individual groups, but those intermediaries who influence those groups.

In the community benefit sector, that would be social investors, foundations and donors, as well as capacity builders – consultants, resource centers, academic institutions who teach leaders of those efforts. It would also be systems influencers inside large institutions, perhaps a key person at an international organization with multiple chapters, who can guide the process by which decisions are made in all those chapters.

In the government sector, that would also be the capacity builders in that arena, as well as systems influencers inside the government – perhaps a City Manager who can guide the process by which decisions are made throughout a 4,000 person organization.

In the business sector, that would include investors of all kinds (especially angel investors for start-up and expansion), capacity builders, and again, systems influencers on a large scale – perhaps a corporate leader who can influence the process by which decisions are made throughout many divisions and layers.

What became apparent in the discussion was that while certain specifics might vary between target groups, the big picture of what the site could make possible for each group, as well as some of the pre-conditions for success, were the same across all of them.

The following are the general answers the group arrived at, with specifics noted where applicable.

If our mission is that everyone is bringing out the best in themselves, others, and the situations they encounter – and that at the very least, they know how to do so, and at best, they are doing so naturally – what could this website make possible for each of our targeted audiences?

  • Greater influence in their own work and lives.
  • Making meaning of their work and lives / sense of purpose
  • Experience & learn from others in the same field who are exploring how to create / measure meaningful success.
  • Reinforcement for being brave (and the encouragement that it’s ok when we don’t feel brave).
  • Moving beyond transactional relationships. It was noted that all sectors worry about being beholden, as they are all working with other people’s money – business (shareholders / investors), government (taxes), community benefit (social investors).

Pre-conditions for success
We will talk more about pre-conditions for success in Meeting #2, but many of the ideas that arose in this first meeting were clearly conditions that must be in place if the website is to succeed in helping others to accomplish the mission – to bring out the best in themselves and their work. Those pre-conditions included…

People must have a safe environment where they can connect with people of like intention

  • Connection with individual innovators with similar passions, interests, longing for meaning
  • Connection / exposure to role models – people who are successful, modeling what is possible.
  • A place where they don’t have to be the expert / the smartest person in the room
  • A safe place to connect without worrying about being “hit on” for time and free advice (consultants), dollars (foundations, business people), influence (all the above). Without the worry of being hit up for stuff, a place where they can be and learn and explore in a safe environment.

People must be met where they are, for who they are, in language they recognize. They must be honored at all points along the continuum of what they are ready to bite off for themselves, from the extent to which they wish to engage (passive, active) to the extent to which they are willing / able to be open in doing their work, and then some.

People must have an obvious, easily identifiable on-ramp to approaches that will address what they are longing for / looking for re: increasing their personal and professional effectiveness. The point of entry must be clearly marked – so they can not only find answers / other people, but most importantly, feel comfortable / eager to walk in – that sense of “This is it! I finally found it!”

People need a place to be reminded of how to bring out the best in their own work.

People must be able to find

– tools
– classes
– support
– places to practice
– places to learn
– places to connect
– places to explore
– places to share what they are learning

People who are visionary need a way to find others who come from that +1 mindset (see this TEDx talk for deeper understanding of the +1 vs. -1 mindset). The relief of finding “one’s own kind” – others who are longing for systems that come from what’s possible vs. reacting to what’s wrong.

People need to have a sense of their own potential, rooted in the “abundance” mindset of Collective Enoughness – that together, we have everything we need; that it is only on our own that we experience scarcity. This is important because when we are in scarcity, we cannot be our best or bring out the best in others.

What’s Next?

In Meeting #2, we will continue to focus on the conditions the site must create.

With that map of pre-conditions laid out, in future meetings we will determine what the site must have and be and feel like, in order to create those conditions for success.

The next step will be to create a decision-making matrix, to weigh all our options against objective criteria, to determine which aspects of the site to develop first.

As was noted in the reflections at the end of the meeting, a big part of each of these steps (and the steps in between) will be the ongoing input of the end users of the site. Many of those end users were represented during this first meeting – people who are now or have worked deep inside the corporate world, the government arena, in large organizations, in academia, as funders, as consultants. That continuing broad-spectrum input will be critical to the success of this plan.

The end result of this web strategy work – slated to be completed by the end of April (if not sooner) – will be the action plan and initial treatment for the site itself. From there, we’ll begin engaging designers, and away we go!

We hope you’ll join Meeting #2 (the schedule of all upcoming meetings is below). To participate in Meeting #2, head here.

There’s no better way to learn an effective path to web strategy than to be part of an actual strategy session. And the joyful thing about the catalytic thinking framework we’re using for this process is that all voices are the precise voices that need to be at the table. So we hope you will be part of that meeting. See you there!

Upcoming Web Strategy Meetings:

Wednesday, February 25th – 11 am ET (US)

Tuesday, March 10th- 11 am ET (US)

Tuesday, March 31st- 11 am ET (US)

Wednesday, April 15th- 11 am ET (US)

Tuesday. April 28th- 11 am ET (US)

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