Campfires 56 & 57: Trojan Horses And Finding Meaning In Unlikely Places

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This is the chat for Campfires 56 & 57: Trojan Horses And Finding Meaning In Unlikely Places, which you can now also watch back on WXO TV.

What if as well as giving your audience what they want, you could inject their experience with a secret kernel of meaning? Something provoking and unexpected, which not only challenges their idea of what the experience should be and makes it far more memorable – but also changes their very sense of self?

Frankfurt-based horror attractions designer Michael Badelt, who has 22 years’ experience in the theme park industry, believes that there’s a huge amount of untapped potential to infuse experiences with an underlying narrative or meaning for your audience to discover – a technique he calls the Trojan Horse.

Through a test-and-iterate approach to a live horror experience he created in a German theme park, Badelt has developed a framework for delivering both cheap thrills and deep transformation.

And whether you’re designing haunted houses, theme parks, or something entirely different, we think his method for delivering meaningful thoughts that will *haunt* audiences long beyond your experience ends is *frighteningly* relevant to all experience designers looking to tantalise, tease and transform.

When it comes to designing your next experience, consider:

  • What assumptions are you making about your guests? How could you challenge or test them?

  • What emotion or transformation do you want to design for?

  • Where could you insert a moral dilemma into your experience?
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