AG Futures Session Two

Posted: September 21, 2010

Emerging Customer Needs & Cutting Edge Competitors

The AG Futures Team met on Tuesday, September 21st, and discussed current and emerging customers of the college and their needs. The group focused on the following areas with input being collected to ultimately be used to develop college strategic imperatives for future growth to be submitted as recommendations to the Dean. 

  • Evaluation of customers and needs
  • Evaluation of competitors - the obvious and the less obvious

Results of Session I - Homework Assignment

Finding the Right Job for Your Product – “Who Are You? … I Really Wanna Know…”

Common themes:

What Do Customers Want to Accomplish?

  • Solve real world problems
  • Have tools for better decision making
  • Be aware of emerging issues
  • Access to timely, unbiased, science-based information 24/7
  • Become and remain highly marketable in their chosen career
  • Receive PSU degree with hands-on experience
  • Improve practices, business skills to support life interests
  • Connect, collaborate, network

What Frustrates Them?

  • Can't find information. Lack of identified access point for info/expert
  • When their problems are not solved; they want immediate answers
  • College is reactive not proactive
  • Lack of focus—trying to be all things to all people
  • High tuition costs
  • Lack of accessibility of faculty and staff
  • Less boots on the ground
  • Not providing deliverables

What Don’t They Understand?

  • Organizational structure and mission
  • Funding model, land grant model—how research and extension are funded
  • Complexity of science and research. Time involved to solve issues
  • Resource limitations
  • Educational process
  • Cost to deliver and teach programs
  • Ownership of college programs. Market identity and brand

Identified Critical opportunities:
  1. Ability to rapidly identify and cost effectively address emerging issues critical to the agricultural sector and the citizens of the commonwealth.
  2. Ability to identify emerging research opportunities along with knowledge of and relationships with funding sources and potential research partners.
  3. Ability to create vibrant and engaging educational environment leading to lifetime relationships with students, alumni and faculty.
  4. Ability to develop quality academic programs that support a lifetime of employability.
  5. Strong interdisciplinary research and teaching focus.
  6. Strong brand identity with statewide community presence.

Things we need to work on:

  1. Need to show measurable impact in all areas.
  2. Need to communicate our value to our constituents more effectively and aggressively.
  3. Need to maintain our focus on building relationships with our constituents as well as potential partners.
  4. Need to develop a little swagger—be proud of and confident in the contributions we make to our constituents and the Commonwealth.

Homework Assignment Two - "Who Knows...?

Provide input around the following areas for the college:

  1. Potential external shifts (
  2. Why do we believe it could happen?
  3. How could it impact our college?

College faculty, educators, and staff are welcome to provide their input for this homework assignment on our online survey.  The survey will be available through Thursday, October 20th.