WV Physical Activity Plan Development Process

Based on the findings of the 2010 WV Physical Activity Symposium and the capacity-building efforts over the following year, developers facilitated a group decision-making process in the summer of 2011 with the intent to establish a conceptual framework for the Plan. This multi- phase concept mapping process included brainstorming ideas, structuring ideas through expert rating and sorting, and interpreting results by key stakeholders. The concept mapping data were collected using a web-based format that allowed for the asynchronous participation of individuals from diverse geographic locations across the state.

Phase I: Brainstorming

Plan developers delivered a webinar on June 22, 2011, to inform potential contributors about the WV Physical Activity Plan and to invite their contribution regarding the brainstorming of ideas. The webinar included an overview of the National Physical Activity Plan, and a summary of the plan development process to date, and a request for their participation in brainstorming as the next important step. The primary intent of brainstorming was to produce as many ideas or statements as possible in response to the following prompt:

One specific thing that needs to happen to increase or promote physical activity in West Virginia is…

The brainstorming phase included 154 individuals representing all societal sectors and geographic regions within WV. The participants generated a total of 240 initial ideas or statements that were later systematically reduced by plan developers to eliminate redundancy. A final list of 61 ideas or statements were formatted and used in Phase II of the concept mapping process.

Phase II: Structuring of Ideas

Based on previous networking efforts, 50 experts representing the 8 societal sectors were recruited to participate in the sorting and rating of ideas. In total, 38 of these key individuals accepted the invitation to participate and 32 completed all of the assigned tasks: (a) sorting similar ideas into piles or groups based on self-identified themes; (b) rating each idea based on importance to statewide physical activity promotion; and (c) rating each idea based on feasibility or the likelihood that it could be implemented in the next five years. Data aggregation and analysis were completed using multi-dimensional scaling and cluster analysis to determine the relationships among ideas. A variety of maps were then developed to graphically display these relationships for the purpose of interpretation. The structuring of ideas resulted in the identification of five priority areas that provide the conceptual framework for the Plan:

  1. School-based Programs and Initiatives
  2. Public Awareness and Social Marketing
  3. Community Engagement and Environment
  4. Institutional and Organizational Support
  5. Policy

Phase III: Interpretation of Results

The concept mapping results were initially disseminated in a second webinar that was delivered on August 31, 2011. That webinar included a review of the Plan development process to date, explanation of the concept mapping method and timeline, interpretation of
the key results, and discussion of next steps. Plan developers also requested feedback regarding the identified priority areas and invited the continued involvement of all webinar participants.

After this initial attempt at disseminating and interpreting the concept mapping results, plan developers organized a Sector Team meeting on October 5, 2011, in Charleston, WV. At this meeting, Sector Team members were asked to develop sector-specific calls to action
and strategies/tactics within each of the five previously described priority areas that could be realized within the next five years. The Sector Teams were encouraged to use multiple sources of information including the National Physical Activity Plan strategies and tactics, the concept mapping findings (including sector-specific analysis), and WV Physical Activity Symposium work group results.

The sector-specific calls to action, strategies, and tactics were then formatted by plan developers and disseminated to Sector Team members for verification and modification. As a final step in the plan development process, a preliminary draft was available November 8–22, 2011 for public comment. Plan developers used the resultant comments and feedback to finalize the written report and prepare it for wider dissemination in multiple formats (e.g., technical report, executive summary, fact sheets).

West Virginia Physical Activity Plan “Lessons Learned”

The WV Physical Activity Plan development process included frequent opportunities for input across sectors. Here are a few key lessons learned that can be used during future strategic planning:

  • Create a plan of action by identifying objectives, organizational structure, financial
    needs, and key stakeholders along with clear roles, responsibilities, and timelines.
  • Establish guiding principles that reflect sectors’ fundamental beliefs, that will drive the planning, implementation, and evaluation processes.
  • Conduct an environmental scan of similar initiatives across sectors.
  • Solicit input and buy-in from all societal sectors, geographic regions, and major
  • Secure support early from key policy and governmental officials from all sectors.
  • Adopt a philosophy that fosters inclusion from as many stakeholders as possible.
  • Choose a unified team of dedicated and visionary sector leaders with the ability to
    lead and the capacity to commit resources to the planning, implementation, and
    evaluation processes.
  • Establish broad-based priority areas to work on that are consistent across all sectors.
  • Obtain sector-specific feedback after all planning activities to assess the processes,
    outcomes, and impacts of the plan.
  • Allow ample opportunity for sector representatives to participate in decision making activities.
  • Develop a communication infrastructure to facilitate the bi-directional transfer of
    information across sectors and geographical distances.
  • Recognize individual, institutional, and sector-specific contributions to the planning process.
  • Celebrate and share successes!

West Virginia Physical Activity Plan Implementation & Evaluation

The WV Physical Activity Plan is scheduled for release on January 19, 2012 in Charleston, WV. This special event will be used to communicate key messages, highlight possibilities for collaboration related to physical activity promotion, celebrate physical activity in its various forms within West Virginia, and build momentum for implementation efforts across the next four years. The Sector Teams are also scheduled to meet during the spring of 2012 to discuss Plan implementation and evaluation:

  1. Engage in capacity building to support plan implementation and evaluation
  2. Generate additional ideas and approaches for plan dissemination
  3. Identify opportunities for working within and across societal sectors
  4. Develop framework for evaluating the WV Physical Activity Plan