Thanks to the support of the Zermatt Summit, we launched in June 2012 the new website of a key initiative of the Foundation for a New Ethical Business: WeDReamBusiness!
We Dream Business was founded in 2008 by Professor Marc Le Menestrel, who wanted to inspire his students by creating a gallery of companies that made them dream and, besides, be able to inspire visitors all over the world. The idea was to show that businesses could be profitable while being at the service of human values, social justice and environmental responsibility.
The website was born simple and available to everyone: any visitor can upload any company that has inspired him/her, being the inspiring power the main criterion to upload a project.
Nevertheless, as time went by, we realized that the website needed to be more interactive: visitors should be able to share they knowledge, discuss and express their opinions as well as rate the companies in terms of their positive impact in society. We had to give the opportunity to students to express what they think about the different projects, as some of them may be very inspiring examples of social business but some others may not.
This was an ambitious objective for us. We wanted to improve the webpage the best way possible and we performed a survey among 70 students to analyse the main strengths and weaknesses of the website. The survey helped us in the design of the features for the new version of www.wedreambusiness.org.
Thanks to the support received during the 2nd Edition of the Zermatt Summit, held in June 2011, we were able to develop our ambitious project and we have been able to launch a pilot version in June 2012. We hope you like it!
Since 2008, the website has positively achieved its goal as a tool of inspiration among students and many other visitors.
Nevertheless, in 2011, we decided to make a survey among 70 students in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the website for developing an improved version.
The survey helped us draw the following conclusions:
Message, transmission of the global idea
Some of the visitors did not really understand the main purpose of the site and believed that the webpage served as a tool to make a distinction between “ethical” and “unethical” firms. They focused on firms and brands instead of focusing on the model that students want to transmit with their project. We had to be able to explain better the purpose of the website.
Design and appearance: motivation
Part of the motivation and inspiration comes from what enters by sight. The design of the original website had to be improved both aesthetically and functionally in order to contribute further on motivation. Most of the surveyed students identified the following subjects to be improved, among others:
- The quality of the images was low and the uploading process for images was not easy.
- The text fonts: the font size was small; besides, some symbols and typographies were not readable.
- The structure should be more practical and intuitive: add a search button; add links to words and filters to organize the information. The number of uploaded projects is increasing and adding tools such as a search button can make things much easier for visitors.
- The projects could be presented in a more attractive way: possibility of highlighting relevant information or add videos.
Interactivity and updating: looking for loyal followers
One of the main problems identified by the surveyed students was that it was not updated constantly. If a page looks the same because it is not constantly updated, visitors soon get bored and forget about it.
Allowing visitors comment and adding news/articles can turn the site much more lively and attractive to students. Besides, due to the diversity of opinions, it can become much more useful and enriching.
Expanding our horizons
Surveyed students considered that We Dream Business was an innovative and interesting idea, with a lot of potential, and they considered that we had to expand our scope and promote the initiative through social networks.
When We Dream Business was founded, a Facebook profile was created, too. It will soon be reactivated, as soon as we believe that the new website is ready.
About expanding our network, last year, the project was presented to a group of MBA students in China and it was an enriching experience. However, we still want to expand our horizons even more and create a stronger network of students, professors and business professionals.
These were some of the conclusions drawn from to the short survey done in 2011. These conclusions became the basis for designing the new website.
Once analyzed the main strengths and weaknesses of the original website, we could begin designing the new one.
The first theme was to design the structure and layout. We wanted it to be very simple and intuitive in order to make things easier to maintain and edit the website. Any effort on organizing the website in the present saves time in the future. Besides, the ease with which visitors can navigate the site is one of the keys for the success of a website.
We decided to create three main sections: About us, Gallery and WDB Recommends.
In the “ABOUT US” section we would explain the initiative, the history of WDB, an introduction to the team and acknowledge the sponsors.
The “GALLERY” would show the projects and highlight the outstanding ones. This section would also include a discussion page where visitors would be able to improve the projects or discuss on several matters.
Finally, at “WDB RECOMMENDS” we would make suggestions about initiatives, events and books which the team think might be interesting for visitors.
The second step became the technical specifications we wanted to include. For instance, adding a search button and defining the characteristics to administer the discussions. We had to design a system for having subscribed members and allow them comment and see which were the best alternatives to administer their profiles.
Finally, we had to be assessed by a website developer and see the feasibilities of our project and how much it will cost.
Once done that, we were invited to attend the Zermatt Summit. There, Professor Le Menestrel presented the initiative and we obtained a generous donation to start working on the new website.
In June 2012, and thanks to the generous support obtained from the second edition of the Zermatt Summit, held in 2011, we have happily launched the second version of www.wedreambusiness.org.
We are facing this new phase of the We Dream Business initiative with a lot of enthusiasm and we are still working on it.