Insights.

Industry news and thoughts from our talented team.

18 December 2017 // Thoughts

Emerging Trends in Immersive Design – Shawn McCoy’s 2017 IAAPA Presentation

What differentiates a fad from a trend? How are VR, AR, AI, and IP transforming the experiential design landscape? JRA…
21 July 2017 // Thoughts

Pop Culture Shorthand Part 3 – Creating the IP-Based Experience

We’ve touched on the history of IP usage and how it has become such a pervasive part of theme park…
20 July 2017 // Thoughts

Pop Culture Shorthand Part 2 – Why IP?

Yesterday, we re-capped some of the bigger IP-based projects of the past several years, and how the “IP movement” is only…
19 July 2017 // Thoughts

Pop Culture Shorthand – An Inside Look at IP with Colin Cronin

Here at JRA Insights, we love handing over the posting reigns to our “folks in the trenches” – the designers…
26 June 2017 // Thoughts

The Arts Mean Business: Breaking Down the Arts and Economic Prosperity V Report

The numbers are in, and they are staggering. In 2015, the arts and culture sector brought in $166.3 billion in economic activity.…
12 June 2017 // Thoughts

Past Reflections and Future Strategies: Five Years of the TEA/AECOM Museum Index

Last week, we analyzed the findings of the 2016 Theme Index, published by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and economic feasibility firm, AECOM. Today,…
04 April 2017 // Thoughts

Where Are They Now – Celebrating Three Decades of Children’s Museum Design

Over the past 30 years, JRA has had the honor and pleasure of working with children’s museums from Sioux City…
24 March 2017 // JRA Culture

27 Inches to Life Size – Transforming a Design Into a Built Reality

We've have a special treat for our blog readers today as designer Rachel Daheim shares the experience of her first…
09 April 2016 // JRA Culture

Keith James – Tales from an Unbelievable Life

“Who could have written this script?” Forty-five years ago, JRA CEO Keith James took a summer job at Kings Island…
05 April 2016 // JRA Culture

Motorcycles, Airline Miles and TEA Myths – Jack Rouse Honors Keith James

Many friends, family and colleagues have lauded Keith James over the past few days in celebration of his Thea Lifetime…
13 January 2016 // Thoughts

Shawn McCoy’s Top Tips for Creating Compelling Children’s Museums

As reported by Blooloop, JRA’s Shawn McCoy recently presented "Creating Meaningful Children’s Exhibits" at the Museum Education for Children Symposium…
18 November 2015 // Thoughts

Emerging Trends in Immersive Design 2015

This week, our own Shawn McCoy, along with Thinkwell Design's Cynthia Sharpe, took a capacity crowd on a whirlwind tour of the…
04 November 2015 // Thoughts

Demystifying Your Dream: The Top Ten Questions We Will Ask You at IAAPA

It’s officially November. The leaves are turning, store shelves are overflowing with shopping temptations, and we’re about ready to escape…
26 August 2015 // News

A View from Both Sides of the Fence, Part 2

Welcome back to our two-part look at how theme park design and operations collaborate, and sometimes collide. Last week, JRA…
19 August 2015 // News

A View From Both Sides of the Fence – Five Tips for a Successful Designer/Operator Partnership

Dan Schultz, JRA Chief Operating Officer In July, we asked the question, "should I build my museum or attraction?" Congratulations, the…
05 August 2015 // Thoughts

Deconstructing Capacity – Capacity by the Numbers

When we were researching this post, we found in our desks the article Design and Planning Cheat Sheet, written by…
16 July 2015 // Thoughts

Should I Be Doing This? Economic Feasibilty, Part Two

Last week, Brian Sands, Vice President and Principal of Economics at AECOM, begain to lift the veil of the process…
09 July 2015 // Thoughts

Should I Be Doing This? Determining The Feasibilty of Your Project

When developing a museum or attraction project, sometimes the biggest question is whether it should be developed at all. Even…
26 June 2015 // Thoughts

Working in China, Part 4: Managing the Work

So you’ve finally signed the contract and work has started, but that's not the end of it. Instead, you’ve only…
19 June 2015 // Thoughts

Working in China, Part 3: Using Outside Consultants to Get the Job

In our last segment, we discussed the importance of changing your business mentality and communication style when bidding on projects…
12 June 2015 // Thoughts

Working in China, Part 2: Getting the Job

In our previous post, we mentioned that there are some significant differences in the Western and Chinese styles of attractions…
05 June 2015 // Thoughts

Working in China: An Overview of the Basics

Part One: Asking the Right Questions This month, thousands of industry professionals will gather in Hong Kong for the IAAPA Asian Attractions…
01 June 2015 // Thoughts

The Bright Side of Attraction Design: Shedding A Light on Collaboration

In this week's post, Kathy Abernathy of Abernathy Lighting Design takes to the blogging mic to enlighten us on the oft forgotten…
19 January 2015 // Thoughts

Trends in Design Conclusion: Busting Social Barriers By Creating Connections

Through our examination of the 2014 trends in design, we’ve learned how giving guests a curatorial voice can eliminate role…
18 January 2015 // Thoughts

Trends in Design 2014 Part 3: Eliminating Physical Barriers Through Access

Welcome back to Part 3 of 2014 Trends in Design: Breaking Down Barriers.  Whereas in the past two posts we’ve…
16 January 2015 // Thoughts

The Art of Breaking Down Barriers Part 2: The New Curators

Welcome back to my 2014 review of design trends. While yesterday we looked at examples of museum’s crowdsourcing content, today…
15 January 2015 // Thoughts

Trends in Design 2014: The Art of Breaking Down Barriers, by Shawn McCoy

Part One – Conquering Role Barriers Through Crowd-sourced Creations  As we have for the past four years, this past November, Thinkwell’s Cynthia…
14 August 2014 // Thoughts

Learning Through Side Doors: The Intersection of Design and Theatre

Blogger-in-Chief Clara here. Welcome to our brand new blog series, Learning Through Side Doors, where we explore other industries that, while…
24 July 2014 // Thoughts

From Ghosts to Shoes to Railway Stations – A Brief History of Projection Mapping

As we wrote last week, The Grand Hall Experience at St. Louis’ Union Station incorporates projection mapping to transform an historic venue. …
13 March 2014 // Thoughts

Defining Your Story, Conclusion: You Are The Storyteller

Through his IAAPA Leadership Conference presentation, “Defining Your Story”, our CEO Keith James has explained  Why stories are used to create compelling…
12 March 2014 // Thoughts

Defining Your Story, Part 3: A Place for Fact and Fiction

Through his IAAPA Leadership Conference presentation, “Defining Your Story”, JRA CEO/Owner Keith James has so far answered the question of why stories…
11 March 2014 // Thoughts

Defining Your Story, Part 2: Rooting Stories in Place and Time

Yesterday, we introduced Keith’s IAAPA Leadership Conference presentation on “Defining Your Story”. Today, Keith identifies the eight different types of stories. Today, we’ll…
10 March 2014 // Thoughts

Defining Your Story: Creating Experiences By Telling Tales

Last week, our JRA CEO/Owner Keith James presented to an eager group of listeners at the IAAPA Leadership Conference 2014 in San…
12 February 2014 // JRA Culture

The Art of the Sketch, by Colin Cronin

You may not know that by night, designer and JRA+blog contributor, Colin Cronin, is a sketch comedy artist!  His troupe, The…
02 October 2013 // Thoughts

Old “Stuff”, New Strategies: Taking Museums into the 21st Century

This week, Designer Colin Cronin takes over the blog to talk about why museums sometimes get a bad rap, and…
30 May 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture Follow-Up: How Museums Saved a Scottish City

As reported in InPark Magazinetoday, last week the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) welcomed 5,000 attendees to its Annual Meeting and…
15 May 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture Conclusion: Museums, Robots and the Economy

And there you have it. Over the past six weeks, we’ve analyzed the impact of museums and other cultural assets on economic…
10 May 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Engines for the Tourism Machine

Common sense dictates that in order to bring tourists to your town (or state or country), you have to have…
02 May 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Attracting Talent, Inspiring Entrepreneurship

Yesterday, we examined Richard Florida’s theory in The Rise of the Creative Class Revisitedthat today’s creative, knowledge-based workers often value quality…
01 May 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Museums, Employment and the Creative Class

And we’re back with “The Business of Culture: Museums as Economic Development.” But before we move forward with our next…
24 April 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Creative Placemaking Part 3 – A Mind for Growth

In our second segment on creative placemaking, we visited The High Line, a park that transformed New York’s Chelsea Neighborhood.…
18 April 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Creative Placemaking Part 2 – Livin’ The High Line

Yesterday, we introduced the concept of creative placemaking and how the smart planning of cultural assets can mean big financial…
17 April 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Creative Placemaking Part 1 – What Is It?

Welcome back to "The Business of Culture: The Impact of Museums on Economic Development.” In our previous segments, we’ve shown…
03 April 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: When “Museum” is the Name of the Game

Welcome back to our series on “The Business of Culture: The Impact of Museums on Economic Development.” In our last post,…
20 March 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: The Impact of Museums on Property Values

Per last week's post, over the next several weeks we'll be examining the impact of museums on economic development: from tourism…
13 March 2013 // Thoughts

The Business of Culture: Museums and Economic Development

Most people (particularly in this industry) won’t argue that museums and cultural institutions are integral to the life-blood of urban…
21 February 2013 // Thoughts

The 5 Keys to Creating Successful Brand Lands: Respecting Tradition, Infusing Innovation

Thanks for reading, and welcome back to Part 2 of our how-to of creating successful brand attractions and experiences. In…
20 February 2013 // Thoughts

The 5 Keys to Creating Successful Brand Lands: Part 1 – Unlocking the Authentic

Following Keith James’ recent presentation on brand experiences at the Trends in Leisure and Entertainment (TiLE) Conference in Hyderabad, India,…
27 June 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Lessons Learned

Thanks to JRA's Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy, over the past few months we’ve reviewed a…
20 June 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Designed to Heal

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at ways in which experiential design can help to entertain, engage, train and…
06 June 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Design for the Mind

Last week we learned about the value that experiential design is bringing to a number of training facilities by immersing…
24 May 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Saving Lives

In last week’s blog, we looked at how the United States Army employed experiential design techniques within the controversial “Army…
17 May 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: New Recruits

Experiential design can be used not only by corporations to attract new customers, but has also been used by firms…
09 May 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: “That’s PR You Can’t Buy”

Around the world, major corporations are not only creating free experiential events such as the live Angry Birds event in…
03 May 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Differentiation and Cutting Through the Clutter

As we discussed in our previous posts, the value of experiential design can be purely economic, or it can also…
26 April 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Dollars and Sense

Again we bring you VP of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy who's going to teach us about the dollars and…
18 April 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: The Experience of Innovation

Welcome to Part 4 of The Value of Experiential Design, brought to you by JRA's VP of Marketing and Business Development,…
05 April 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Designing the Non-Muggle World

To continue our post from yesterday, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy, discusses how a boy wizard leapt from…
04 April 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: Creating Experiences for the Leisure Industry

Once again, we throw it back to Shawn McCoy to explain the value of experiential design.  While last week we…
29 March 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design: The Experientially Designed Product

Welcome back to our Blog N' Learn: The Value of Experiential Design, brought to you by Vice President of Marketing and Business…
28 March 2012 // Thoughts

The Value of Experiential Design

For the next few weeks, we'll be turning over JRA+blog to our Vice President of Marketing and Business Development (and…
14 March 2012 // Thoughts

Media Moves! Part 3 – That’s a Wrap!

So, your director has called a “wrap”, the cameras have been shut off, the costumes have been packed and the…
07 March 2012 // Thoughts

Media Moves! Part 2 – Production

Lights! Camera! Action! Welcome to Part 2 of our Media Moves! series. In our first installment, we covered the pre-production…
22 February 2012 // Thoughts

Blog N’ Learn: Media Moves!

In our previous series, we’ve showcased the 16 Stages of Project Development primarily as they relate to the physical components…
08 December 2011 // Thoughts

10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences: Putting It All Together

You've designed your museum for the audience, accommodated guests of all types and told compelling, personal stories with strong takeaway…
01 December 2011 // Thoughts

10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences: Connecting with Your Community

Hello, and welcome to another Blog and Learn.  Today we continue with VP of Marketing and Business Development Shawn McCoy's 10 Keys…
03 November 2011 // Thoughts

10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences: Only Here

In parts one and two of our 10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences, VP of Marketing and Business Development Shawn McCoy…
27 October 2011 // Thoughts

10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences: What Happens When They Leave?

Welcome to another installment of Blog N' Learn, where we unravel the mysteries of museum and attraction design.  In our…
20 October 2011 // Thoughts

10 Keys for Successful Museum Experiences: Listening To Your Audience

For this 5-post series, JRA Vice President, Shawn McCoy, teaches us the keys to developing memorable museum moments for guests…
28 July 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development: The Great Unveiling

You’ve gotten your permits. You’ve been shown the money. You’ve hired JRA (good move ☺). You’ve seen your project master…
22 July 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development: Fabrication and Installation

Stages 12 & 13 – Production, Fabrication, Installation and Testing Greetings, readers! In this post, we’ll be continuing our 16…
19 May 2011 // Thoughts

JRA Guest Blog: Strategic Planning

Please remind me again...why are we doing this? Why Good Strategic Planning Makes for Great Guest Experiences In this guest…
12 May 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Construction Documentation

Stage 11: Production and Fabrication Documents In our last 16 Steps segment, we completed JRA’s design process, selected the materials and finishes…
14 April 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Detail Design

Stage 10: Detail Design We have now reached the final stage of JRA’s design process for your project.  During the…
07 April 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Schematic Design

Stage 9: Schematic Design Welcome back the 16 Stages of Project Development.  You now have a sense of the general…
24 March 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Final Concept

Stage 8: Final Concept Design Your design language has taken shape, and you are beginning to understand the relationship between…
10 March 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Preliminary Concept

Stage 7 - Preliminary Concept Design In our last post, JRA began the legwork of designing your project.  We developed your criteria…
03 March 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Master Planning and Programming

Stage 6 – Master Planning and Programming You’ve received (at least part of) your project’s funding, and government authorities have…
24 February 2011 // Thoughts

Guest Blog: Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider

Today on Insights, we have a special treat for our readers: a Q&A with Robert Niles, founder and editor of Theme…
17 February 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – The JRA Design Philosophy

The JRA Design Philosophy You’ve gotten your land, your building permits and your funding.  Now it’s time to craft your…
10 February 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Financing and Feasibility

Stages 4-5: Show Me the Money Stage 4: Finances After you’ve gotten your approvals and your site is ready to…
03 February 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Beginning at the Beginning

Stages 1-3: The Work Before the Work, or Getting to Know Your Government Officials Stage 1: Zoning Over the next…
14 January 2011 // JRA Culture

Why Cincinnati? Part Two

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum Why We Stay The University of Cincinnati continues to serve as one of…
13 January 2011 // Thoughts

Why Cincinnati? Part One

More than a few times (a month), a vendor, colleague or client asks us: “why are you in Cincinnati?” While…