Phase 4 of Think Big wrapped up with four town halls. Approximately 750 people attended the meetings and another 150 attended a detailed presentation of the related marketing research results. After presenting the brand strategy and the rigorous design process from which it emerged, attendees were invited to help improve the ideas, as is the common practice in this process.
Participants were asked to provide their thoughts in three categories: I like... I wish... I wonder.... The exercise resulted in more than 2,000 comments written on Post-Its by participants. Laid side by side on a football field, the input would stretch from goal to goal and back to the 50-yard line. The Think Big team is very grateful for so many honest and thoughtful contributions.
- We've read every single Post-It at least once. Some many times. We then did our best to sort them into themes—a process that is more art that science. After all was said and done, we concluded that:
- This is the right strategy and WMU is pointed in the right direction. For those that saw our anthem video, it is important to note a significant change as the result of critical feedback. The original big idea, “Where students become masters of their fate and captains of their soul so they can change the world,” was too heavy. So, we changed it to, “College is a place to go; Western is a place to become.” This is the result of your engagement—thank you!
- The deep desire for culture change that emerged in Think Big, and was validated through the Employee Engagement Survey, was once again affirmed and reinforced in your feedback. As a campus, we are taking important strides forward.
- Your feedback clearly emphasized what we all know: there remains much to do and many hands are doing this work.
Based on these responses in the exercise and informal conversations, we are confident that the rigor of the process has resulted in a strategy that reflects the will and sensibilities of the Western community.
Here are three ways that participants in the town halls impacted Think Big:
- You provided creative confidence that we are pointed in the right direction.
- You have asked great questions and requested more details and communication, to which we will respond going forward.
- You have provided an extremely rich data set that serves as a set of provocations and inspirations for teams that will work on implementing specific components of Think Big. The comments will serve as an ongoing resource to help improve thinking and ideas.
Here’s how the team distilled 2,000 comments down to a few simple insights:
- First, within each of the three prompts (Finish each phrase: I like... I wish... I wonder...) the team sorted all comments into sub-themes. Get an idea of what emerged by reviewing the actual Post-Its and themes.
- Second, within each prompt we identified and ranked the top sub-themes by frequency, added definition to them, and assembled “representative comments” to provide more nuance. Get more detail by reviewing the themes sorted by prompt.
- Third, we combined common themes across the three prompts into one composite set of common themes.