The Value of Experiential Design: Lessons Learned

June 27, 2012

Thanks to JRA's Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy, over the past few months we’ve reviewed a number of experiential design case studies and how experiential design can add value in a variety of ways. When considering how the principles of experiential design can be applied to various fields on a daily basis, it’s important to re-visit our earlier definitions.

Whereas experiential design can be defined 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,

 At Montefiore Hosptial in Bronx, New York, the experience of listening to music is seen as a tool for healing.

Experiential design in the leisure industry can be defined as:
...The creation of a holistic experience that connects to audiences on an emotional level through the use of story, unique architecture, immersive environments, interactivity, media and a guest-focused operations

At the JRA-designed National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, guests see, hear and experience the stories of those who fled slavery in search of freedom.

  • • No amount of theming or guest experience can compensate for a bad underlying product.
  • • Think of your guests or customers as your audience, your environment as your stage, your employees as your actors, your product or service as the story, your delivery of service as your script, and your support operations as your backstage.
  • • Maniacally focus on the guest experience, create layers of memorable touchpoints with your brand, base every part of your experience on a consistent storyline and connect to a variety of audiences on an emotional level.
  • • It is attention to detail that makes the difference.
  • • And finally, innovate - do not be afraid to push to envelope about what can be accomplished.

Those who provide their guests with quality, guest-focused experiences will not only be providing memorable experiences but will also be providing the basis for their own success. This is, in fact, the value of experiential design.


We hope you've enjoyed Shawn's blog series on The Value of Experiential Design.  Check back next week, as we celebrate Independence Day by saluting JRA's patriotic projects.  Thanks for reading!

Tags: Blog N Learn , business

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The Value of Experiential Design: Designed to Heal

June 20, 2012

Montefiore Medical Center - Bronx, New York

Montefiore Medical Center - Bronx, New York

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at ways in which experiential design can help to entertain, engage, train and educate. This week, we take a look at some examples of how experiential design is being integrated within hospital environments as part of a holistic approach to healing.

Social Value: Engaging the Mind to Heal the Body

Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York is one of several hospitals that have recently incorporated experiential design philosophies into the realm of wellness and patient care. The hospital’s unique integration of architecture, technology, education and inspiration is designed to engage children in a voyage of discovery and learning that can last a lifetime. For example, the hospital’s innovative Carl Sagan Discovery Program is the nation's first science and learning program fully integrated into the design and philosophy of a pediatric hospital.

Several hospitals in North America have followed suit and have created a variety of unique environments and programs for their patients – from playfully themed equipment, to MRI rooms where patients choose their own lighting colors, to dynamic waiting rooms, interactive hospital beds, to even special shopping zones just for patients. The idea is to give patients both a little bit of fun and a little bit of control over their experiences.

The famous Mayo Clinic has even created an internal project team that analyzes every aspect of the patient’s experience from check-in to check-out. This team then creates new processes and environments to ensure that the patient and their loved ones have the best experience possible.

Perhaps most importantly, they then constantly monitor how each touchpoint affects the wellbeing of the patients. The results have been a testament to the power and value of experiential design. For example, the Clinic designs a number of programs into patient care and has experimented with having musicians from the local symphony visit the hospital and play during certain patient care. Their tests have proven that a patient listening to a live cellist while undergoing chemotherapy experiences almost double the positive effect than those who take the treatment in a traditional environment. Other hospitals have implemented similar programs with various musicians visiting patients during their treatment and recovery.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our tour of experiential design techniques by reviewing lessons learned and how these lessons can be applied on an everyday basis.

Tags: Blog N Learn , business , Outside the Studio

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IAAPA Sees Record Attendance for 2012 Asian Attractions Show

June 14, 2012

Linda Round, Shahryn Azmi and Chloe James at the JRA trade show booth.  Photo courtesy of Blooloop.

Linda Round, Shahryn Azmi and Chloe James at the JRA trade show booth. Photo courtesy of Blooloop.

June not only brings the start of summer (finally!), it also brings the annual International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions (IAAPA) Asian Attractions Show! To the delight of the IAAPA organizers, this year’s trade show, which took place in Hong Kong, saw a record-breaking attendance of 5,150 (versus 4,711 in 2011), including 3,220 qualified buyers from 65 countries. The show floor showcased the works of 274 exhibitors, covering over 68,000 net square feet of space.

As usual, the energy on the floor could only be matched by the energy at the show’s evening receptions. One of the highlights for the JRA team was the opportunity to return to Ocean Park for the IAAPA and TEA parties. JRA has had a long working relationship with the 35-year-old park, most recently to revise the original master plan for the Park. The master plan called for renovating existing attractions and using available land for new attractions like a themed rapid-river ride and a 4,000-seat Dolphinarium. In addition, the plan called for a new front gate, entry plaza, and retail and food venues. The entire Ocean Park master plan was designed to incorporate the park’s existing marine life and animal education theme. Other past projects have included a comprehensive five-year master plan and the development of the popular Kids’ World area. “It was great to be back at Ocean Park,” said JRA CEO Keith James. “We’ve always enjoyed our partnership with the Ocean Park team, and after 35 years, it looks fantastic.”

Guests of the show were also treated to an evening at Hong Kong Disneyland and their new Toy Story Land experience. As you can see from the photo below and from our Facebook gallery, our team took full advantage of the opportunity to play along with Jessie, Woody and the entire Toy Story gang!

Overall, James felt that the busy conference was a good indicator of the potential of this burgeoning attractions market, “all in all, we are quite pleased with our several days in Hong Kong, and we hope that the next few weeks and months will show that the 2012 Asian Attractions Show was a very successful expo.”

Thanks, Keith, and we’ll stay tuned! Speaking of which, stay tuned next week, as Shawn McCoy returns to continue The Value of Experiential Design. Did you know that experiential design has healing powers? Find out how in our next post.


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

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The Value of Experiential Design: Design for the Mind

June 06, 2012

Cerritos Millennium Library - Cerritos, California

Cerritos Millennium Library - Cerritos, California

Last week we learned about the value that experiential design is bringing to a number of training facilities by immersing trainees within realistic, high pressure situations.

This week, we take a look at the intersection of experiential design and education.

The value of experiential design within educational environments is based upon two primary factors – the ability to attract visitors and the ability to engage them in the process of learning.

Let’s look at a quick case study.

In 2002, the city of Cerritos, California celebrated the opening of their new $40 million Cerritos Millennium Library. The new library features over 300,000 books along with over 200 computer workstations. But the library is perhaps best known for its stunning architecture, outdoor water play area, sculpture garden and its unique interior elements, including a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, a lighthouse, a Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil replica, an arts and crafts room, simulated atmospheric changes in a rainforest theme and a reading area themed after 19th-century European reading rooms.

City leaders wanted to change the way that a traditional library operates as well, making it much more guest-friendly. Instead of going to the traditionally intimidating check-out desk, patrons who want to check out a book or locate other research material can just speak with one of the Library’s headset-wearing staff members constantly roaming the floor, who will assist you on the spot.

The success of the new Cerritos Library can be measured from both a quantitative and qualitative standpoints.

First, compare the numbers from the library's first six weeks of operation in 2002 with the same numbers from 2001:
• attendance went from 58,770 to 185,765;
• library cards issued grew from 792 to 5,019
• circulation increased from 84,372 to 136,286.
City Librarian Waynn Pearson states that probably the best qualitative result was a comment he heard in the library’s elevator, when a group of teenage girls declared the library “cooler than the mall.”

It’s such a community jewel that it’s become a popular place to hold weddings and receptions. Talk about the value of experiential design.

In two weeks, we’ll take a look at how experiential design can actually aid in healing the mind and body.  But first, join us next Wednesday as we venture to Hong Kong to recap the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' Asian Attractions Show!


Tags: Blog N Learn , business

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