I was introduced to the Empowerment Institute and its founder David Gershon in 2010 through a recommendation to read David’s new book, Social Change 2.0. At the time, just one year out from school, I was searching for sources that could help me learn how to bridge the gap between where I was currently and my vision of making a positive impact and change in the world by working with socially minded businesses. Social Change 2.0 provided that bridge.
By using a simple methodology David had successfully completed many projects around the world that created lasting change in peoples lives they impacted. His largest project, The First Earth Run, inspired by the Olympic Torch run, was created to spread peace throughout the world in a time when global anxiety was high due to the cold war. Over 86 days, the First Earth Run’s message of peace would reach 25 million people and 45 heads of state in 62 countries who directly participated in the torch’s journey.
The empowerment methodology created by David is a simple 4 step change process applied through 4 questions:
1. Pathology to Vision: Where do I want to go?
2. Static to Organic Growth: Where do I want to go?
3. Awareness to Behavior Change: What do I need to change to get there?
4. The Growing Edge: What is my next step?
I was able to learn how to use David’s methodology when I participated in his 6 month program. The program is split into two, four-day workshops separated by a 6 month window in which you develop your own social change project with the assistance of David. The beauty of the methodology is its versatility and ability to be applied to individuals, groups and organizations. I was inspired by David’s passion and willingness to share his knowledge so that others were able follow their passions and dreams. Unfortunately David’s passionate story, programs and knowledge were buried in an outdated and cluttered website creating an experience that turned people away. I wanted to change that.
Working with my friend, who also participated in David’s program, we set out to reorganize and edit David’s content and present in a more compelling and engaging way. Our first step was full content audit across 5 sites and three recommendations based on the findings on how to move forward.
The strategy focused on a process to refine the current content to be approachable and allows visitors to quickly identify top-level topics and drill-down for more details and information as desired. It consisted of 4 phases: categorization, prioritization, consolidation and simplification.
With over 200 pages of existing content organizing the content into three main categories from 13 was a critical step that helped eliminate duplicated and outdated content. It also helped David to see his content, for the first time, organized in a system that connected programs, experiences and results in a way that highlighted the overarching purpose of David’s work.
Finally, the new organiztion acted as road map for how we apply the strategy to the content and it became a rough frame work for restructuring the information architecture of the Empowerment Institute’s site and it’s content.
The final step was creating a site map to visualize how the new content would be structured and connected in the new architecture of the site.
The process we created to edit and refine the content allowed us to design an experience that quickly allowed David’s various audiences to locate and identify with the content most applicable to their needs.