UWF Housing and Residence

We used our trademarked IDEA method to apply the principles of Design Thinking when working to bring innovative solutions to the challenge faced by UWF Housing and residence. Through research, interviews, brainstorming, prototyping, testing and refining, we were able to bring transformative change this challenge.

Man showing sticky notes to group of people

The Challenge

In the fall of 2017 the Division of Enrollment and Student Affairs (DESA) at the University of West Florida asked us to help reimagine the housing experience for UWF students.  Our challenge was to help the DESA think about new and exciting ways to engage their residents, creating a FOMO atmosphere so that living on campus would be the clear and obvious choice for new and returning students.

Couple driving golf cart on campus

Our Approach

As with any project we work on, our initial step was to learn as much as we could about the issue we were addressing.  We needed to know what our students loved about living on campus, what they didn’t love, what other universities may be doing that was working and any other data that could bring insight to the project.  Several focus groups with students were conducted along with many one-on-one interviews. Over the course of the info gathering, a pattern of wants and needs began to emerge. From there, working closely with students and experts in student housing, the Innovation Institute Swarm Team helped come up with several potential enhancements, all centered around the needs our students helped us identify.

Housing building at UWF campus

The Result

Through our collaboration with the DESA, several significant upgrades to services and amenities have been implemented or are coming.  Specific tactics around marketing to parents, highlighting on-campus residency perks like storm readiness, facility standards, and well-trained staff were in the works and our research confirmed the need.  Other enhancements that came from our involvement include common area updates, shared kitchen updates, more collaborative workspaces and lots of work around better transportation options for on-campus residents.