Blog N' Learn: The Experientially Designed Product

March 29, 2012

Welcome back to our Blog N' Learn: The Value of Experiential Design, brought to you by Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy.  Yesterday Shawn talked to us about what experiential design means.  Today he'll illustrate this definition by comparing two iconic products - one that has become integral to our everyday life, and one that started strong but has since devolved into obsolescence.


Walkman Vs. iPod

In 1979, electronics giant Sony introduced a personal, portable music product called the Walkman. In essence, a small cassette tape player and/or radio receiver, variations of this product dominated the market for over twenty years. Portable MP3 players were eventually introduced by a variety of companies and met with marginal success. That all changed in October of 2001 with the introduction of an amazing new product - the iPod.

The iPod is an example of true experiential design. First Apple researched the market and recognized that, while there were already MP3 players on the market, they were rather clunky, hard to navigate, and were complicated devices for an individual to manage their music collection on.

At the same time, Apple realized that there wasn’t a simple, universally accepted software through which users could not only listen to and organize their music, but could also serve as a way to purchase new music. The initial focus was on the needs of the consumer, not the hardware or software that Apple wanted to push.

The solution was a breakthrough in hardware – the iPod, and software – iTunes.

In retrospect, experiential design has been the key to Apple’s success. Throughout the development of the iPod, Apple looked at every aspect of their target market, including: their needs (a small, simple-to-use device); their desires (cutting edge technology wrapped in a cool looking design with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface), beliefs (that Apple is a renegade company catering to individuality, creativity and expression), knowledge and skills (computer literacy), experience (familiarity with MP3 players and other Apple products) and perceptions (to be associated with the product also expresses ones own individuality and creativity).

They then marketed this breakthrough product with a campaign that celebrated individuality and resonated with consumers on an emotional level, where it’s now part of our cultural landscape.

This experientially designed product has not only resulted in over 300 million units sold and a 70% market share, but it has turned a computer company into one of the world’s largest suppliers of musical content, and it has created an entire culture around the iPod.  So now that we have an understanding of experiential design in general, how does this relate to the leisure industry?

We'll answer that question next week.  Thanks for reading!



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Blog N' Learn: The Value of Experiential Design

March 28, 2012

For the next few weeks, we'll be turning over JRA+blog to our Vice President of Marketing and Business Development (and frequent guest blogger), Shawn McCoy, who'll be teaching us about what exactly experiential design means and how it generates value.


Several years ago, the marketing department at JRA updated our logo to include the tag line “experiential design + realization.” This change was due to our belief that our core business had shifted from simple attraction design or exhibit design to something deeper and more encompassing. At that time, the phrase “experiential design” was relatively new (and it still is today). So new, in fact, that a lot of people, even those of us in the experiential design business, have a hard time defining what the term actually means. With that in mind, this article not only provides some background about experiential design, along with a variety of definitions, but also highlights the ways in which experiential design provides value, from a variety of perspectives.

What is Experiential Design?
To best understand what experiential design is and its value, we must first understand the concept of “The Experience Economy,” a term and concept made popular by Joseph Pine and Jim Gilmore in first their article and then their book of the same name written in 1998 and ‘99, respectively.

In The Experience Economy, Pine and Gilmore offered a simple explanation for what they call the experience business:

If you charge for undifferentiated stuff, then you are in the commodity business.
If you charge for distinctive tangible things, then you are in the goods business.
If you charge for the activities you perform, then you are in the service business.
If you charge for the feelings customers have because of engaging you, then you are in the experience business.


   Commodity (Cake Mix)        

    Service (Cake Decoration)       


   Experience (Themed Birthday Party)

Pine and Gilmore provide a great example of this using a birthday cake. At one time, if it was your birthday, your mom would get all of the ingredients or commodities together and make you a birthday cake from scratch. Then cake mixes, or goods, came out, making it a bit easier to make a cake. Then it became more popular just to outsource the cake making to your local grocery or bakery – who are providing a service. And finally, instead of just outsourcing the cake, you can just outsource the whole birthday party experience to an experiential provider.

So, as Jim Gilmore states, you can track the history of economic progress through the evolution of the birthday cake: from the agrarian economy cakes were made from scratch; through the industrial economy when cake mixes were purchased as goods, in the service economy where you paid someone to make your cake, and finally to the experience economy where you outsource the entire birthday experience.

I would say that most of you reading this post are in the experience business in some way or another. And those of us who help create these “feelings that customers have” –– or these experiences –– are sometimes called experiential designers.

Experiential design can take place in the development of both products and places. As “experiential design” is a relatively new term, there really isn’t one universally accepted definition. In general terms it has been described as the “practice of designing products, processes, services, events and environments based on the consideration of an individual’s or group’s needs, desires, beliefs, knowledge, skills, experiences and perceptions.”

In essence, experiential design is the act of thinking about every touch point that an individual or group has with a product, service or environment and making that touch point resonate in a memorable way.

To better understand the definition, tomorrow we’ll take a look at an example of an experientially designed product.

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Nice Job Shawn. You've hit the nail on the head in defining what we all know but few could articulate. Thanks for sharing this. David
David Aion 9:22PM 03/28/12

The Mind Museum Opening, Part 3: The Technology of Play

March 21, 2012

Crowds line up for the opening of The Mind Museum.

Crowds line up for the opening of The Mind Museum.

Welcome to the third and final segment of our tour of The Mind Museum in Taguig, Philippines. The museum’s first four galleries proclaimed the wonders of Nature. Our last indoor gallery heralds the innovations of humankind.

The Story of Technology is the largest of The Mind Museum’s galleries, encompassing the entire upper floor and overlooking the other four gallery spaces. It is divided into five major themes, each occupying a node: How We Live, Who We Are, How We Know, How Things Work, and Here to There. The Who We Are Node explores the tools we use to create, modify or spread human language, as well as other expressions such as art, literature and fashion. How We Are examines precision and ingenuity, featuring tools such as telescopes and microscopes that challenge us to discover the illusive, invisible and immeasurable.

In the How Things Work node, guests explore the mechanics that changed the world. Whether for manufacturing, building public infrastructures, or processing food or oil to sustain millions of lives, the tools in this gallery have altered human society. From the machines that build, to those that transport, visitors learn about mobility and speed in the Here to There node, which features vessels that carry humans and the things we humans like to carry with us. Velocity and motion give way to sustainability and wellbeing in the How We Live node, which spotlights the tools we use to live, work, play or heal and how they impact our health and the health of our planet.

The crown jewel of this gallery is The Human Face of Technology. Comprised of a 360-degree screen featuring uploaded videos of people saying what there favorite technology is and why, this exhibit can be seen by visitors from almost every angle throughout the entire museum. Not only does the Human Face of Technology provide a beautiful centerpiece for this dynamic space, it offers a personal angle to the technology story, one that extends far beyond the tools, gadgets and machines we use everyday.

Our final area juxtaposes this technology story by exposing the guests to the elements of nature. Science-in-the-Park, an outdoor exhibit area, offers a variety of entertaining science experiences entitled “Nature’s Artful Play.” The 800-square-meter park features four play pockets: Water, Math, Music and Living. The Math Pocket offers exhibits such as a fulcrum and a curved climbing wall, which challenge both the mind and senses in a fun and whimsical way. Visitors of all size and ages can play indigenous drums, a large flute, or a singing forest of wind chimes in the Music Pocket. “Wild” is the word in the Living Pocket, with creatures such as cobras, eagles and dragonflies allowing guests to “get into their heads” and plants demonstrating their capacities to filter water. Finally, guests can unleash the power of water by turning an Archimedes screw, spinning a water wheel or chasing bubbles in the Water Pocket.

The Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. designed The Mind Museum experience to extend far beyond the guest’s actual physical visit. Through virtual exhibits such as “Light the Northern Hemisphere,” “Catch a Comet,” or “Explore Nature’s Basic Ingredients,” visitors continue their learning and are inspired to return to the museum.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to work with The Mind Museum, and it is a thrill to see it open,” said Matthew Wheeler, JRA Senior Project Director. “We greatly enjoyed collaborating with the BAFI team and have always appreciated their passion for this project and science education in general.”

Manny Bias II, Managing Director of The Mind Museum and BAFI, also enjoyed the spirit of teamwork and goodwill exemplified in the project, “The JRA people didn't just do great work for The Mind Museum, they became great friends. After they completed the contracted work, they kept in touch with us to check on our progress, and to just spur us on. When we opened the museum five years later, JRA was there to celebrate with us.”

JRA would like to congratulate everyone at BAFI and The Mind Museum on a successful opening. We’re sure this auspicious beginning is a sign of great things to come.


Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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Congratulations on the opening! -Mark
Mark 10:26AM 03/26/12

The Mind Museum Opening, Part 2: Nature's Building Blocks

March 20, 2012

The Mind Museum - Taguig, Philippines

The Mind Museum - Taguig, Philippines

For Part 2 of our celebration of The Mind Museum’s grand opening, we’ll visit two more of the science center’s galleries – one offering a glimpse of Nature’s work in macro terms, the second distilling everything around us into a fraction of a particle.

The Human Brain

The Story of Life features the defining exhibit of The Mind Museum – “The Human Brain.” One of the largest exhibits in the museum, The Human Brain features consoles on memory, the senses and motion and is designed with interactive multi-media illustrating what happens to our brains through various moods (e.g., sadness, joy, and fear). Another Story of Life gallery, “Adaptations,” offers a three-part tutorial on how different animals adapt to their surroundings, such as camouflage and mimicry. Guests can also enjoy an interactive 3D exhibit of the human body, a Bernoulli blower, and a walk-through exhibit documenting the evolution of mammals from sea to land to air.

Big Small Wonders

Given that the topic of life is so vast, there is a vast array of exhibit experiences in The Story of Life. Guests continue their journey by viewing “Big Small Wonders” through a microscope and seeing their finds magnified on a monitor. They deepen their understanding of genes through “Gifts Through the Past: Chromosomes” and compare numbers of species through the free-standing exhibit “Rooms of Life: Sizes and Shapes.” Other exhibits educate visitors on the topics of the human body, evolution and the interconnectedness of life. Through The Story of Life, children and adults alike are reminded that although we are uniquely “us,” we are all part of the global life network.

The Story of The Atom gallery

The Story of The Atom takes the grandness of life and distills it into its smallest building blocks. With more interactive exhibits than any other gallery, it contains the very elemental forces that we so often take for granted – gravity and electromagnetism. The highlight of the gallery is the Atom Centerpiece, which features “Atom in A Box,” a fascinating 3D visualization of an atom developed by a physicist. While serving as the building block of life, the atom is also the building block for the technologies we use everyday – from TVs to computers, cell phones to tablets. In this gallery, guests can witness the chaotic motion of a levitating pendulum, make lights glow different colors by adjusting pressure and gasses, activate a human-powered Tesla coil, and learn that “Everything is Made of Atoms” through a sculptural exhibit featuring a deconstructed chocolate bar. JRA designed this gallery to move these microscopic particles and invisible forces into the context of everyday life, creating a larger story around the infinitesimal atom.

This deconstructed chocolate bar shows how everything is made of atoms.

“With a science exhibition designer, you would need a group that respects the story that you bring to the project,” said Maribel Garcia of Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. “JRA not only respected our concepts, they helped refine them and build a story around them that was wonderful to behold. It was like seeing your distilled imagination cloaked in shapes and color ready to step into reality!”

Two small guests have a hair-raising experience in The Story of The Atom.

For these last two days, we’ve examined The Mind Museum galleries that focus on the foundations of the past (The Universe, The Earth) and the building blocks of our present (Life, The Atom). Tomorrow, we’ll focus on the future through the museum’s The Story of Technology gallery, before ending our tour outside with “Nature’s Artful Play” in Science-in-the-Park.

Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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Free Your Mind: The Mind Museum Opens in the Philippines

March 19, 2012

Nature's Webways greet guests as they enter The Mind Museum.

Nature's Webways greet guests as they enter The Mind Museum.

The long-anticipated opening of The Mind Museum has finally arrived, as this state-of-the-art science center opened its doors to the public last Friday. Part of the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, The Mind Museum hosts over 250 interactive “minds-on” and “hand-on” exhibits, making it the first world-class science museum in the Philippines.

Jack Rouse Associates, in collaboration with the Bonifacio Arts Foundation Inc. (BAFI), provided master planning, conceptual and schematic design for this 4,900-square-meter facility. There are so many wonderful experiences here, we couldn’t contain them in just one post, so over the next three days we’ll be profiling all of the wonderful exhibits and attractions that The Mind Museum has to offer.

Visitors begin their journey in the spacious Mariano K. Tan Hall lobby. While in the introductory hall, they are welcomed by a robot, created by Japanese company Kokoro, Ltd., who introduces them to the overall mission of the museum. Guests then encounter the “Ten Most Beautiful Experiments”, an audio-visual exploration of major scientific breakthroughs, such as when Sir Isaac Newton discovered that white light has all the colors of the rainbow.

Once visitors have passed through the lobby, they can choose among the five gallery spaces, all of which offer compelling stories related to science and technology. The galleries are linked (both spatially and contextually) by a series of exhibits and audio-visual presentations called “Nature’s Webways.” In the first gallery, The Story of the Universe, visitors learn how all life began in the stars of space. At its center is the Spaceshell, a mini-planetarium that can hold 50 visitors at one time. Rather than sitting on chairs, guests lie on cushions so as to mimic looking up at the night sky. As they gaze upward, they see films on the planets and the stars.

“What is on Mars?”, another feature of The Story of The Universe, offers guests the opportunity to learn more about the Red Planet thanks to data provided by NASA. They can maneuver a remote-controlled rover over a simulated Martian landscape or “try on” a 3D spacesuit. Other features in this area include a mechanical representation of Einstein’s Theory, an interactive model of the solar system, a suspended model of the moon that can be manipulated by the guest, audio-visual pods that simulate the sounds of space and an LCD display that poses the age-old question, “are we alone?”

From the far reaches of space, guests shift their gaze homeward to The Story of The Earth. In this gallery, they’ll meet Stan, the first cast of a T-Rex to be exhibited in the Philippines. At over 40-feet tall, Stan is the most complete T-Rex cast ever found. He is displayed along with a simulated excavation, where guests can pretend to dig for fossils. Featuring natural history from 4.6 million years ago, The Story of The Earth also offers exhibits such as “Nature’s Hourglass”, a 50-seat amphitheater and virtual time machine that offers two short films on the story of our planet. Guests can receive the latest on the Earth’s typhoons, volcanoes and more through “Knowing Home: Floating Globe,” travel through zones representing the five plant and animal kingdoms through the “Canopy of Life”, maneuver an earthquake simulation table, replicate a volcano eruption or recreate a swirling tornado. All of these experiences aim to better connect the guest with our dynamic planet.

JRA strove to design these galleries as dynamic and engaging spheres of learning that would inspire the youth of the Philippines to explore the realms of science and technology and bolster the country’s growing reputation for innovation.

“When choosing the design team that would work with us in The Mind Museum,” said Manny Bias II, Managing Director of BAFI and The Mind Museum, “we looked for both talent and chemistry. We had to make that judgment based on videoconference interviews. It turned out that the JRA designers were more than telegenic – they are designers that could help us visualize our vision; they understood our limitations; and they were just a fun team to work with.

These galleries are only a small glimpse of all there is to explore at The Mind Museum. Tomorrow we’ll discover more of its rich offerings, as we journey into The Story of Life and the Story of the Atom.

Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys , Project Spotlight

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Media Moves! Part 3 - That's a Wrap!

March 14, 2012

A scene from the award-winning film

A scene from the award-winning film "Coppa di Sicilia" at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

So, your director has called a “wrap”, the cameras have been shut off, the costumes have been packed and the trailers have rolled away. Once you’re done filming, then you’re done with your film, right? Not hardly.

For our last Media Moves! segment, we’ll discuss what happens from when your sets are struck until your film is finally viewed by an audience.

During the post-production process, the editing team will create a rough cut out of the best takes from each scene. Once the cut is approved, the film will start final touches. Computer-generated images and effects will be produced, the film will be color-corrected and the audio track developed.  Once all the elements are complete, they are assembled in an online edit suite.   If your experience is bilingual, the captioning will be added during this online process.  As the final step, an audio mix is done at the audio house. Once that's complete, the film is sent to your site to be integrated into your hardware.  Post-production is typically the longest step in the making of your films. Through out-editing, color-grading and audio, the producer can change the look, feel and tone of your film.  Want to make your film more ominous?  Add dark tones and brooding music.  Need to make it cheerier?  Brighten it up!

Once the final product is finished, JRA’s team will take it to your site to make sure it properly integrates with the audio-visual hardware.  When everything is installed to your satisfaction, it’s showtime.  The lights dim, voices hush, and the audience is mesmerized by your film's gripping content and high-quality production values.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Media Moves! series. Next week, we’ve got another grand opening to celebrate, as The Mind Museum opens its doors to the public in Taguig, Philippines.

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Just been checking out the website for The Mind Museum - it really looks something special. Hopefully my family will get a chance to go when we holiday there.
Richard at Fake Grass 5:56AM 03/15/12

Media Moves! Part 2 - Production

March 07, 2012

Lights! Camera! Action! Welcome to Part 2 of our Media Moves! series. In our first installment, we covered the pre-production phase of your project – final scripting, storyboarding and casting. Today, we’ll cover the actual filming of your media. As with pre-production, the media team at JRA will oversee the process in collaboration with your awarded production company to make sure that your media visions are fully realized on time and on budget.

As we mentioned in our last post, at the end of the pre-production phase you will have established said budget, hired your director and (live or voice-over) talent and scouted your filming location(s). The budget and director are key factors on which a production company is awarded the project. Added to the team are crewmembers including, but not limited to, your director of photography, electrics team, grips (lighting and rigging technicians), sound designers and costume designers. Obviously, the size and scale of the crew depends on the size and scale of your film.

The shooting day begins with the cast and crew arriving at their appointed call time. Typically, the props department, grip and electrics set up first, followed by wardrobe, hair and make-up, sound. The actors are usually the last to arrive (once everything else is set up) and head directly to the wardrobe and make-up trailer. Once everyone is in place, the set quiets, the director yells “Action!” and the take begins. When the take is finished, the director yells, “cut!” and sound and cameras stop recording. If the director feels that another take is needed, the process repeats. Once two good takes are in the can, the crew moves to the next “set up,” and once all the scene’s shots have been covered, the director calls it a “wrap.” At the end of the 10- to 14-hour day, the film is typically sent for processing, and a one-light is done. For the uninitiated, “one-light” is a process by which the production team takes the negative and color corrects one of the day’s frames (i.e., makes it lighter, darker, greener, etc.) to see how it will look. The day after you’ve filmed this particular set of scenes, you, the director, and JRA will review the footage, called “dailies,” to verify that all the material shot is useable.

As with pre-production, the animation production process varies somewhat from that above. This process includes modeling, the actual animation itself, voice-over recording and lighting (yes, animation needs to be lit just like live action; otherwise it will be too dark for your film!).

When all the scenes have been shot (or animated) to the satisfaction of the director and producer, the film is sent for the final rendering and then heads to the editing room for post-production.

How does this story end? Tune in next week as we conclude our Media Moves! series, where we’ll see your film edited, completed and ready for viewing by your visitors.

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Good one
jamie 3:10AM 10/15/12
Hi, Richard: Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for preview pics on our Facebook page tomorrow and a three-part blog series on The Mind Museum starting Monday. There's so much to do there, we couldn't fit it all in one post! Regards, Clara at JRA
Clara at JRA 8:50AM 03/15/12
my wife and i just moved back from California. I was working for a law firm at the time. She worked for a production management company and was able to experience exactly what your showing here. i will have to show this to her.
Boston Federal Appeals 11:48AM 03/08/12