Frank McClung

Unconventional Website Strategies: 100 Years

An organization’s website strategy (if they even have one) is often scoped in terms of months or years. Almost no one except the largest and most forward-leaning corporations will plan website strategy in terms of decades.

What if you thought about your website strategy in 100-year chunks? Nuts right? I mean, technology changes too fast to even consider a website plan over 10 years much less 100 years. The modern Internet is barely 20 years old for crying out loud.

Thinking about your organization’s website strategy beyond the lifetime of anyone in your organization can have profound implications for business. It can change your perspective on what’s important and what is not. It can differentiate you in a sea of sameness and become sail to propel you and an anchor to steady you in uncertain times.

Take just five minutes and listen to how Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard’s 100-year perspective made his company what it is today and shapes their strategy into the distant future:

Policies emerged at Patagonia like when the surf is up, you stop working and go surfing. They changed their sourcing to be sustainable at a time when no one else would. They take back their own used clothing. This is what happens when your organization starts thinking about strategy not in months, years, or decades, but in the next 100 years.

How might a 100-year perspective alter your website strategy?

Well, first your perspective will likely shift from tactics to strategy then ultimately to underlying philosophies of how you do business.

Low hanging fruit that offer quick results like keeping your website design refreshed with the latest visual trend becomes less important, while deeper questions like sustainability, accessibility, and societal responsibility become more important.

A 100-year perspective will keep you from focusing solely on solutions to problems created by the past and help you begin the journey of finding the relevant questions.

Efficiency and growth will begin to take a back seat to authenticity and impact.

You will evaluate website technology, not in terms of can it meet our needs, but instead ask “How sustainable is this over the decades? What footprint does it leave on our company and society?”

Oh the places your website will go (and won’t!) with a 100-year outlook.

I’m interested to know what one thing on your website you would change (or not) if you started planning for 100 years from now?


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