We are currently in Phase 4, where the main activity is refining our prototype through design, testing, and research.
We continue to keep our Phase 1 Point of View and Design Constraints front and center in the process. And while the first three phases have been focused on creating a Big Idea that is authentic to WMU (real), Phase Four is about focusing the Big Idea to ensure it is relevant to our stakeholders and rare, making us special and competitive.
The predominant activities in Phase Four are:
- Marketing research with prospective undergraduate and graduate students, parents of prospective undergraduates, alumni, high school guidance counselors, business leaders, faculty and staff, and current students. The goal of the research is to provide a baseline measure of the strength of the Western brand, relative to competitors, and test the prototype that surfaced in Phase 3.
- We are also conducting a competitive analysis that will assess our competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and how they talk about themselves. We will use this analysis to ensure our Big Idea is rare and special.
- With the good thinking of the Phase 4 Design Team and Integrated Leadership (the President’s Cabinet and Provost’s Council combined), we are building a simple framework that integrates existing and new offerings into a unified, valuable student experience that reaches across the entire Western experience inside and outside the classroom.