Prototypes

At the core of the design process is a bias towards action, an understanding that we can learn even more by testing out our ideas and observing the results.  The goal of research is always to use it to try out new ideas and learn from the successes and failures of those projects.  

Below are descriptions of prototypes produced by the 2012 summer fellowship and 2013 ReDesigning Theater classes (Winter and Fall):

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Fall 2013  ME288/TAPS130 – ReDesigning Theater: Live and Digital Performance

In this class, students examine the use of digital technology in collaboration with live performance. They learn to employ the design thinking process as well as improv and theatrical techniques to create user-centric, interactive experiences where technology enables the audience to become part of and/or influence the outcome of the story or its presentation. Students are divided into small groups for prototypes that will investigate and experiment with formats that blur the lines between live and digital, performer and audience, and physical and virtual platforms.

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Design Project #1

Create a four-minute performance that is related to the theme of The American Dream and the intersection of the Digital and the Physical worlds.  Your piece has to include elements of the human experience/interaction, with digital and live elements/actors an integral part the performance.  Your subject matter is, generally speaking, the American Dream, but your particular commentary on this is to be developed by your team using the design thinking need-finding process. Your team’s insight and point of view should to be clear in the final piece. Your goal is to create something that “moves us” and creates a moment of connection, a moment of magic.

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Design Project #2

Ghost in the Machine:  Create a technologically aided interactive story that expands the space.  Create a five-minute performance that is related to the theme of “Ghost in the Machine.” Your piece has to include interactive elements of the human experience/interaction, with digital and live elements/actors an integral part the performance.  Your subject matter is fairly open to your interpretation of the Ghost in the Machine, but your particular commentary on this is to be developed by your team using the design thinking process. You must conduct new need-finding interviews on this topic to drive your storyline. Your team’s insight and point of view should to be clear in the final piece. Remember to simplify the story line for a 5 minute piece. Your goal is to create an interaction of the live and digital that “expands the space” while creating a moment of connection, wonder, and/or magic.

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Winter 2013 ME288/TAPS130 – ReDesigning Theater: User-Centric Theatrical Experiences

Through a series of lectures and prototypes, this class tackled the challenge of reinventing the live theatrical experience for the 20- to 35-year old demographic.  For each of the three class prototypes, students worked in teams of 4-6 on various aspects of each design problem.  They were assigned groups for the first two prototypes and allowed to form their own groups for the third. The prototypes that emerged were:

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Prototype 1: “That Comedy Show” – An Exploration of Before/During/After

In this prototype, students were split into 5 groups: marketing, before, during, after, and event production.  Based on the design principle that a show experience extends far beyond the actual duration of the show, teams were tasked with using need-finding skills to develop and design an entire theater-going experience created around a sketch comedy show from the Stanford Robber Barons.

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Prototype 2: “Escape from Valentine’s Day” – Creation/Consumption: An Exploration of Blurred Lines

For prototype 2, the entire class worked together to create a show incorporating new technologies that they had learned about in class as well as their learnings from the previous prototype. Inspired by short and highly experiential performances, the class created an event with a number of different rooms and locations exploring themes of Valentine’s Day.  The event included a room with improv games, a dating game show room, a room with a Binaural virtual reality-sounding recording of a couple’s Valentine’s Day feud, and a DJ dance party in the main atrium incorporating Tweet Dreams, an interactive technology that projected tweets based on various hash tags for the event.

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Prototype 3: “The Alpha Society” – A Multi-Level Audience

For the third and final prototype, the class combined many of the lessons they had learned from research and earlier prototypes.  In order to investigate questions about how you attract and engage an audience, this prototype split the audience into 2 groups: the Stanford Mystery Society, and a regular audience.  Half of the audience was a group of “insiders” from the Stanford Mystery Society who had been following a series of clues placed around campus and had been given specific instructions about their participation at the event.  And the other half was a regular audience that had been attracted by flyers for an event that promised “food, friends, and fire.”  While both audiences had much of the same experience, the Stanford Mystery Society audience was constantly keeping under cover and searching for clues and, when they heard the code word, dispersed immediately.  This added a different layer of intrigue to the regular audience experience, and many regular audience members were inspired to begin following clues after the event.

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Summer 2012 Fellowship Prototypes

Over the course of ten weeks, fellows went on need-finding excursions and conducted over fifty interviews.  Through these conversations, they formed insights and hypotheses that drove their five summer prototypes, listed below:

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Lil’ Kim’s Birthday

DATE: July 11, 2012
LOCATION: Dolores Park
TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
FELLOWSHIP ATTENDEES: Julia, Ellen, Xandra, Albert, Aviva, Michael & Nick
NUMBER OF GUESTS: ~13 guests from Facebook and 15 guests from flyering

REASONING:

  • To test marketing strategies.
  • To explore the pop-up event phenomenon.
  • To get some basic experience with our first prototype.
  • To explore humor as a tactic for events.


HYPOTHESIS:

  • People will respond more favorably to Facebook promotion. (Evidence does not support)
    • Time frame factor– we did it in under 24 hours.
    • Celebrity factor– Lil’ Kim is a ridiculous celebrity.
  • People will not buy product and will go for free product. (Evidence does not support)
    • Price factor– it was only $.50
    • People ate both
    • Keepsake item for Kimchee for Lil’ Kim’s Birthday
    • Power of the story: Ellen said it was made from her mom. The guest bought 4 Kimchee!
    • power of things homemade
  • Humor will attract attendees (Evidence supports)
    • The Lil’ Kim flyer was the most popular.
    • The only flyer that was successful was the Lil’ Kim’s birthday flyer. The mystery, pop-up, and sexy flyers did not work.
  • People will enjoy interactive activities (Evidence supports)
    • People liked the rap off and the Lil’ Kim Competition.
    • People went to decorating Lil’ Kim Cupcakes. People enjoyed the Lil Kimchee.
  • People are sometimes more interested if you engage them in a conversation beforehand
    • Xandra engaged in a pre-event FB/email/texting conversation about the event with 4 of her 6 friends who came (only 1 person she engaged with online beforehand didn’t come)


EXPERIMENT:

  • Host Lil’ Kim’s Birthday Party at Dolores Park.
  • Created four types of flyers to explore different marketing strategies (Mystery, Pop-Up/Trendy, Lil Kim’s Birthday, Sexy Invitation).
  • Facebook promotion, online promotion, and print promotion.

 

EVENT COMMENTARY:

  • Overall, it was a very local group of audience members ages 25-35.
  • A very alternative scene (beer, reefer, tattoos, piercings, etc…). More of a hipster event.


GENERAL TRENDS:

  • People want more local theater. More alternative scene. People wanted material events more local to San Francisco or even this neighborhood. Doing a production more about local and personal people.
  • Price point is too high for theater for people to attend.
  • People enjoy quirkiness and loved the “Lil’ Kim-chee”– people like witty things.
  • People like humor and ironic events.


PROTOTYPE SUCCESSES:

  • Someone told us, “You guys are going on my 347 list, which is why I love San Francisco!” and “This is the coolest thing I ever saw!”
  • Someone emailed us the next day and said our event was awesome!
  • People loved our flyers and were taking pictures and twittering our flyers.
  • Great teamwork! We worked together as a team with spirit/enthusiasm.
  • People were delighted by surprise. We continued to surprise our audience.
  • People actually bought Kimchee (made $8– we sold Kimchee for 50 cents each).
  • 28 guests attended the event with only 24 hours of promotion!
  • Guests were happy and delighted by the event.
  • Lil’ Kim competition at the end was great way to engage interaction with the audience.
  • Lil’ Kim rap off was great.
  • We managed good communication. Key aspects to positive communication:
    • Express needs well. Each team member needs to express their needs.
    • Flexibility of all team members to work with the event.
    • Group text worked very well (GroupMe).
    • Team bonding prior to the prototype.
  • Set up/closure.
  • Tent was key in the success of the event.


PROTOTYPE IMPROVEMENTS:

  • Better improvement on our pre-prototype methodology and theory.
  • Our questions and research need to be less scripted. We received consistent feedback that it felt creepy and forced, and that we should be having more fun.
  • Integrating more performers could be valuable for us to capture more observations.
  • In using group texts, once it is established that two people need to communicate– they should communicate offline on group text.
  • Need to look into a better note-taking method that is not creepy. Interview in pairs.
  • Space to hang out and do stuff while waiting for activities.
  • Videotape interviews instead of notetaking.
  • We could have printed some sort of survey for capturing information. Focus more on information catching.
  • Focus more on preparing for information collecting at the event.
  • Hire performers so we can focus more on information collecting.
  • Possibly focusing less on details of the actual party, versus focusing on information collecting for the event.
  • Music to arrive earlier would have made a bigger improvement.

 

STRATEGIES FOR APPROACHING NEXT PROTOTYPE

  1. Come up with questions prior to the prototype. We can brainstorm and vote on our research question for the prototype.
  2. Build modes of documentation and information collecting into the prototype.
  3. Explore taking some fellows out of the prototype.
  4. Distill out the feedback into the puzzling/unanswered. Form a question from this.
  5. Explore the IMPOSSIBLE!
  6. Planning our time more efficiently (20% on event production, 40% on modes of collecting information, etc…

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The Dark Knight Screening


DATE: July 18, 2012

LOCATION: The Design School
TIME: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
FELLOWSHIP ATTENDEES: Julia, Ellen, Xandra, Albert, Aviva, & Michael
NUMBER OF GUESTS: ~20 guests

REASONING:

  • Need finding research from our interviews suggests that theater’s lack of sociability is a driving force behind our demographic not attending theater. To test how consumers address their need of a social experience.
  • To explore how consumers interpret a “social experience” by identifying an environment as social.
  • To test how individuals might flow from social to not social environments.

HYPOTHESIS:

  • People will prefer a social environment. (Evidence does support)
    • 19 people went to social room.
    • 2 person went to the silent room (neither stayed for the whole time).
    • Also, the light was on in the social room. People explained that they did not like the lights on, but still stayed in the social room.
  • People will interpret a social environment as talking. (Evidence does support)
    • Individuals were talking with each other; however, few individuals talked with strangers. Some individuals requested ice breakers to talk more with new people in the environment.
    • Individuals expressed a fear of missing out.
    • Some people were just talking the whole time in the kitchen and hardly watched the movie. These two friends just wanted to catch up and saw an opportunity for free pizza.
  • People would move to not social environment, when being annoyed from other people talking in the social environment. (Evidence does not support)
    • Fascinating Finding: Although individuals expressed being annoyed from others talking in the social room, they did not move rooms!
      • This might be because people are not accustomed to moving around or moving rooms during movies; they might not want to show the group that they are irritated by talking.
      • Someone also said they did not want to miss out on any social activities and people were not in the other room.
      • Also, there were norms established by the group for the social room.


EXPERIMENT:

  • Host a Dark Knight movie night with free pizza and food.
  • Set up two different types of conditions: Control Condition (A Silent Room) and a Variable Condition (A Social Room)
  • Designed several information collecting channels:
    • Initial quantitative survey for all respondents to complete.
    • Interviews with all respondents after the movie.
    • Invited targets for follow up interviews.

 

EVENT COMMENTARY:

  • Overall, it was a very local group of audience members ages 20-30.  There were a handful of people over 30.
  • Majority of attendees were Stanford students.
  • Some people just came for free pizza.


GENERAL TRENDS:

  • People want to be in a large collective group that is excited about the event that’s happening– even if they don’t verbally or socially interact.
  • People want to satisfy the need for a social experience (majority of people went to the social room for the movie).
  • A fear of missing out was a driving force for people to attend the social room environment.
  • Seating and physical arrangement is also an important factor in their experience. People who sat at bistro tables talked more throughout the movie. People who sat in the couches focused watching on the movie.
  • There are strong norms around the entertainment experience; people have norms of not moving around during movies— breaking these norms, even though you might be irritated from others talking. It can be seen as anti-social or offensive.
  • There seemed to be a general desire for more people to be there. People wanted it to be more crowded. People crave crowded environments (Just like the off-the-grid); this aligns with other need finding research that people crave crowded environments or at least when people define an experience as social, they want it packed (otherwise, this can be seen as an unsuccessful event).
  • People don’t want to identify themselves as anti-social– this could have contributed to the success of the social room.
  • Inertia is an important factor. Once people sit down, they don’t movie. We don’t need to study inertia, so take into consideration ways to move inertia.


PROTOTYPE SUCCESSES:

  • Food was an absolute driver for attendees. Keep in mind that food is a cost effective way to attract people to attend.
  • People were receptive to answering surveys and interviews. Signs and talking at the beginning of the movie helped establish expectations around talking with fellowship members. Setting expectations is important for information gather! Huge improvement from last prototype.
  • People were excited to be at a D. School event.
  • No one really drank!


PROTOTYPE IMPROVEMENTS:

  • We need to be more careful about confounding variables and really establishing controls and similar environments, except the experimental variable in the experiment.
    • Comfortable seats in the social room and empty silent room had no people.
  • We could have asked, “Have you ever seen the movie before?” This might have impacted our results and why so many people went to the social room.
  • More lead time for promoting the prototype and getting more advertising.
  • Completing the first part of the Prototype Form before executing prototype (reasoning, hypothesis and experiment).
  • We could have switched signs in the middle of the movie.
  • Giving people permission to move rooms halfway through the movie; this could have had more people move from room to room.

 

STRATEGIES FOR APPROACHING NEXT PROTOTYPE

  1. Complete first part of prototype form before the prototype.
  2. Be more cautious around additional variables that might impact our results. Try to establishing controls.
  3. Connecting our questions and interviews more to our hypotheses. Adapt questions to hypotheses.
  4. Focus more energy on experimental variable we are testing. The social signs and silent signs were not big enough. Make sure attendees understand the difference between the rooms or conditions.
  5. Focus on how generalizable these results are and how valid these results are.
  6. Anticipate different results and how we can move the experiment forward. We can experiment with more questions and variables, if we plan in advance. More planning on how to experiment further with the prototype, if results are already proven.

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Mélange 2012 Participation

 

DATE: August 4, 2012
LOCATION: The Regency Center Grand Ballroom
TIME: 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
FELLOWSHIP ATTENDEES: Julia, Ellen, Xandra, Aviva, Nick & Michael
NUMBER OF GUESTS: ~800+ guests

REASONING:

  • Need finding research suggests that people not only want a social experience, but a communal experience in which people have a collective experience together.
  • People want to feel part of something larger than themselves.
  • For example, charity events or world events where people come out to support together (HBV Guinness World Records event in SF).
  • People like cheering together at sports games. People like to do things together– this could include cheering, yelling & rocking out at dance clubs etc…
  • With theater, audience members do not feel connected with one another or with the content of the work. Theater just isn’t relevant to them, in the sense that content and peer audience members are connected to them.
  • People want to feel connected with each other, and a key part of them is them feeling connected is also with content.

 

HYPOTHESIS:

  • People will feel more connected with each other through shared physical actions corresponding to the content of the performance. (No evidence demonstrated)
    • Audience members did not know when the cues were for the show.
  • People will feel more connected to the content of the performance through participating in group movements. (Evidence does not support or not support)
    • Audience members did not know when the cues were for the show.
  • People will enjoy their audience experience more when they participate in the experience instead of just watching it. (Evidence mildly supports)


EXPERIMENT:

  • Pass out envelopes with instructions, a survey, a pencil, paper money, and confetti in little packets.
    • Envelopes included 7 cues & actions for throughout the night– ranging from high risk, such as go-go dancing, to lower risk, such as throwing confetti.
  • Instructions:
    • Directed
    • Suggested
    • Permission
    • Nothing
  • Breakdowns in seating: (40/40/10/10)
    • VIP
    • Standing
    • Balcony
    • Party people (all directed)
  • Printing (numbers)
    • 104   53
    • 28     15
    • 148   75
    • 37     19
    • 88     45
    • 22     12
    • 40     21

 

EVENT COMMENTARY:

  • Overall, it was a very fashionable event with demographic 18-50.
  • Price point was a bit of a higher than most of our other events– tickets ranged from $45- $260
  • It was a mixed demographic for the prototype with diverse ages.
  • It was an upscale/luxury event for the crowd to see and be seen.


GENERAL TRENDS:

  • People participate in a given special connection. It made them happy.
  • The envelopes were an added surprise for the event. It was a nice novel detail.
  • People don’t participate with unclear instruction.
  • When participation focuses on your body it is high entry to barrier
  • People will participate more when they see that others are committed to it.
  • Many people who attended Mélange 2012 also attended theater in the past year. The average response to the question for “How many times have you been to theater the past year?” was 2.9 times for the 40 respondents– and this does not include two responses that did not put a quantitative number and put “countless times” and “too many times to count”


PROTOTYPE SUCCESSES:

  • Great on the feet thinking and improvisation. We changed the confetti strategy at the last moment to make it work the best we could.
  • Volunteers pulled together. Three volunteers were sent from Mélange to help with packaging the prototype– this was still not enough support to complete all the packaging.
  • People were interested in the envelope.
  • It suggested a special connection… Did you get a black envelope?
  • Pulled together to get work done.


PROTOTYPE IMPROVEMENTS:

  • People didn’t know their cues… Cues were not strong enough.
  • Print out schedule
  • Print out plan
  • Simplicity
  • Pair drawn to important schedule..

 

STRATEGIES FOR APPROACHING NEXT PROTOTYPE

  1. It is important to work with your space. Because many guests were in rows, it worked to have them pass envelopes down but it was difficult to get audience members outside of their seats.
  2. Row thinking is real. It can be difficult to overcome inertia when people are sitting.
  3. Make as little content as possible. Try to test one small thing at a time with the prototype.
  4. Managing smaller scale events is much more executable with our group size.
  5. Attending rehearsals so the entire team is on the same page is important for execution.


Survey Feedback:

  • 40 + responses
  • Overall experience of Mélange : 1.54 (Totally thrilling-1  versus pretty good-2)
  • Participating in the show: 1.84
  • Many people who attended Mélange 2012 also attended theater in the past year. The average response to the question for “How many times have you been to theater the past year?” was 2.9 times for the 40 respondents– and this does not include two responses that did not put a quantitative number and put “countless times” and “too many times to count”


Feedback themes

Fun
Awards/Speaking too long
Better cues
Profressional production

 

Likes

Fashion
Energy
Diversity
Music
   

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Show Pal at The Curse of the Starving Class (Stanford Summer Theater)

  

DATE: August 9, 2012 and August 10, 2012

LOCATION: Pigott Theater, Stanford
TIME: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
FELLOWSHIP ATTENDEES: Julia, Ellen, Xandra, Albert, Aviva, Michael & Nick
NUMBER OF GUESTS: 24 guests

REASONING:

  • Strong sense that people in our demographic like to attend events in which time is “fluid”, not completely restrained to start and end times.
  • Users express anxiety around coming to events on time for theatrical shows and events. Conversely, events that attract our demographic often have fluidity in terms of arrival and departure– night clubs, concerts, parties, etc..
  • Our team is trying to determine how best to make time more fluid for theatrical performances.


HYPOTHESIS:

  • Might a theatrical performance extend beyond traditional senses of time by supplementing additional information, activities, and entertainment prior/during/post-show.
  • Can a second layer of entertainment, which extends the concept, of time to the show enhance user activity?
  • Will Users prefer a more interactive approach to extending the concept of time compared to a more informational providing approach?

 

EXPERIMENT:

  • 24 participants collected from Stanford list serves for a Thursday night summer theater show of Curse of the Starving Class
  • Participants were motivated by being offered a free ticket to the show.
  • There are three groups in this experiment:
    • Control Group: all other audience members that aren’t in the 24 group
    • Group 1:  Interactive texts to group of 12
    • Group 2: Informational texts to group of 12
    • Friday Group: After the prototype on Thursday, the Friday group received purely informational texts with one moment of interaction before the show.

 

EVENT COMMENTARY:

  • Mostly over 35 except for the people participating in the showpal prototype.


GENERAL TRENDS:

  • General responsiveness to the more immersive aspects of the prototype (intermission lounge)
  • People enjoyed the informational texts, giving them context to the show.


PROTOTYPE SUCCESSES:

  • Participants enjoyed the informational tidbits.
  • Participants liked meeting the cast and crew afterwards to chat.
  • Informational texts gave people a lens through which to watch the show.
  • A text early in the day gave people something to look forward to in the play they were seeing later that day.
  • For some people, the time-frame aspects of the texts did make them less stressed about the show start time.
  • Did create a sense of an all-night event, the play didn’t start and stop with the curtain but rather was able to bleed in both directions for people.


PROTOTYPE IMPROVEMENTS:

  • Set up automated response mechanism to respond to responses. Participants felt less inclined to respond when their replies were not acknowledged immediately.
  • Send texts less frequently – 15 throughout the day/during the performance were a bit too many. It made each text less special.
  • We had a lot of participants who were members of the theater community, but not so many of people outside of it. Since the purpose of the fellowship is to draw in those not in it, next time we will target those with non-theater backgrounds.
  • For some people, adding an earlier time and more events to go to before the show added stress to getting to the show on time.
  • We had last minute drop-outs, so to prevent that we should implemena way to lower this rate of flakiness.

 

STRATEGIES FOR APPROACHING NEXT PROTOTYPE

 

  • It is important to make sure you have a diverse group of people attending. Push for more non-theater participants.
  • Aim for around 10 texts total.
  • Add a cost or reservation to the next prototype, see if something is more worth it or if attendance rate will rise if people pay.

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d.Lobby

d.Lobby was produced on August 29th at the Sigma Chi house on the Stanford campus.

This prototype was based on these four design principles, with a heavy focus on the third.

Design Principles:

  • Events don’t have fixed start/end times but rather begin in social spaces, digital and physical. They end gradually over days as photos, comments, and discussion pertaining to the physical even happens.

  • Events have a real-time physical and digital reality.

  • Crowd forming is now a combination of real time and digital/virtual time negotiation:

    1) There is more data about what’s happening

    2) There is more personal marketing that brings people to events (i.e. text messages, instagram, etc)

    3) There is more flexibility in regards to ticketing. People are not only waiting until the day of to decide to attend an event but they wait until during the event

    4) People can preview and check ratings/options on the go for everything

  • 20-35 year-olds manage their persona differently thru social media (or not) and experience. Their personal reaction to everything is worth sharing.

d.Lobby was designed to answer this challenge:

“Create a space in which the traditional sense of the Lobby and the Theater are flipped. The audience walks into the lobby and it is a social space, like a bar. Connected to the main lobby space are smaller theater spaces. Each of those spaces has a specific show that runs in rep throughout the night, they can be anywhere from 20-60 minutes. The lobby will be the main social space and provide the architecture for people to feel comfortable being there and popping into performances when they feel. The event will be open from 7-10pm.

This will not only allow for people to have a more social setting while seeing theater, but also create a system that promotes real-time crowd forming. People are free to come and go as they please, like a bar with a cover, but have the option of popping into a variety of theater spaces”.

These were the specifics of the event:

  • Theater Spaces

    • Musical Theater

      • A truncated production of The Last Five Years (50 min, ran twice)

    • Circus

      • An outdoor performance by Circus Flim Flam (20 min, ran twice)

    • Opera

      • A performance by Opera on Tap (25 min, ran three times)

  • Main Space

    • A Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff

      • To help guide people to see what they wanted and grant permission to enter and exit during shows.

    • A Large Projected Map

      • To help guests find their bearings in the space and check show times for each performance.

    • Cocktail tables with information about the lineage which each performance comes from.

      • To give people tools and a lens through which to watch each show.

    • Food and Drink

      • To promote sociability and add to the “hang-out” atmosphere.

    • A DJ

      • To provide a non-aural indicator that it is OK to stay and socialize in the lobby space while shows are running.

    • A Photobooth

      • To provide the same non-aural indicator as the DJ.

      • To help assist the digital presence of the event.

    • A Live Projection of the Opera Performance on Its Entrance

While running the event, we noticed these general trends:

  • If given permission, audiences are very willing to walk in and out of performances freely.

  • Depending on the nature of the performance, this can be very disruptive to the audience members attempting to watch/listen carefully.

  • Guests will explore or sample each performance option before deciding on one to commit to (if they ever commit)

  • The musical had the most structured narrative and seating, and most guests stayed for the full 50 minutes.

  • This also lead to many guests in the musical room experiencing a fear of missing out on what was going on elsewhere at the event while they were watching the musical.

  • Guests did not express the common feeling of “not getting it” when it came to the opera and circus and felt comfortable being critical.

  • Guests enjoyed having options and a majority of them stayed for more than half of the entire event.

  • Real-time crowd forming began to take place as the guests began texting other friends, telling them to get to the event even as it was ending.

  • When shows were announced aurally, it destroyed the atmosphere of the party in the lobby for a couple minutes.

Based on the first prototype of d. Lobby, we make these recommendations for future prototypes:

  • Make the guided map large and very prominent to help with wayfinding. Possibly with a welcome statement explaining the event.

  • Announce the start of shows non-orally, but still conspicuously.

  • Technology permitting, allow guests to have a minute where whatever they film on their phone goes onto the “jumbotron”.

  • Also the photobooth pictures could be posting to the jumbotron.

  • Design the architecture of each room to create “soft” entrances where guests can come and go without leaking sound from the lobby, and get an idea of the performance in progress without fully entering the space or distracting the performers.

  • Have a single culminating performance at the end of the night, possibly involving performers from different acts in a collaborative piece.

  • Run a show that has narrative, preferably without a musical element so that audiences would have to stay and listen for a fuller experience.

  • Run a show with a longer run-time, preferably over an hour.

  • Run the event multiple nights to create buzz and test crowd-forming.

  • IMPORTANT: What worked and is essential is that an atmosphere is created in the lobby space that is comfortable to be in, and is also catered towards the shows that are happening.


d.Lobby Financial Applications:

The success of d.Lobby in terms of word of mouth marketing, crowd forming patterns, and consumer satisfaction reveal high potential for monetization of this new concept. Furthermore, the innovative structure of having multiple performances around the hub of a lobby enables a new opportunity to redefine the economics of theater. This is worthy of further exploration for future Redesigning Theater research.

Preliminary Potential Revenue Streams:

  1. Ticket Sales: Some options could include having one price for as many shows as you want (for example, $30 for the night). Another option could include a charge per show ($10/show, so if you want all three shows it is $30 for the night etc).

  2. Beverage Sales: One of the first activities attendees did was go to the bar for a drink. This seemed important for enjoying the night. Drinks offer high profit margins.

  3. Food Sales: Similar to Bar sales food provides potential revenue streams and the ability keep the party at the d.Lobby location.

  4. Swag: People loved taking photographs and discussed how this event was a special night for them. It seems that they would be open to purchasing photographs or swag to remember the unique experience.

  5. Corporate Sponsors: d.Lobby is new and fresh, and it is a great opportunity for brands to build a personal relationship with the consumer through a variety of sponsorship opportunities.

  6. VIP Services: People will pay to feel exclusive and special. You can charge for backstage passes, front row seating, bottle service, meeting the performers, and more for VIP packages or services.

  7. Commission on Other Shows Sales: d.Lobby holds the potential to be a great marketing platform for other shows. If the performers at d.Lobby sold tickets to other shows, d.Lobby could take a 10%-20% commission on all ticket sales sold.

  8. There is also a potential for income through daytime educational programs  from running classes to rehearsal space rental.

  9. Venue rentals from private and corporate events to event space rentals for other productions can generate additional revenue.


Possible Business/ Organizational Structures:

  1. A New Venture: d.Lobby could be launched as a new startup venture. The startup could possibly license the technology and/or concept (if necessary?) from Stanford. This would be highly press-worthy, and investors would likely be interested. d.Lobby could then move forward in experimenting with revenue streams while possibly benefiting from the University’s research.

  2. Business Vertical for a Theater Company: d.Lobby could potentially be a new department or business vertical for an existing theater company, such as SHN or ACT. This could be opened to experiment with this new format for entertainment.

  3. A Grassroots Movement: d.Lobby could register as a 501 c(3) charity organization and experiment if there is enough movement/momentum for performers and theater companies to volunteer to make d.Lobby a reality. This would only work if d.Lobby actually provided positive impact for the community (by for example giving lower income high school students opportunity to perform, etc..) and if d.Lobby provided enough ROI for the companies/organizations volunteering to support it.

  4. The d.Lobby concept could be applied much like the d.school and IDEO relationship where there is a mutually beneficial relation ship between a for profit professional theater and learning and experimental institute.

Next Steps for Prototyping Monetization:
We learned from the design school that the best way to see how much someone will pay for something is to see if they will actually pay for it!

People will often say they would pay more for a service or product than they actually will. The best way to prototype monetization is to experiment with different price structures and see if people actually pay. Our intuition is the first step for monetization is finding a price point and structure for ticket sales.

Further research and prototyping is needed to develop an in depth strategy for the monetization of this concept.