Idea Overload!

My head still reeling from everything that Bran Ferren had to say, we had to run immediately into the Discovery Theater to present at the Web and New Media Fair. I was presenting on “Ghosts of a Chance,” the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that the American Art Museum ran last year. Condensing the concept/story/planning/goals/results into SEVEN MINUTES was difficult enough, but I hadn’t stopped to think about the fact that this was not going to be a one-way conversation. Fortunately I’d brought along a colleague – Bridget Callahan – and she was able to scribble notes as every single person that I spoke to had a different idea about how we might build upon/extend/improve/take advantage of the game. At some point soon, we will hopefully be able to sit down, take a deep breath, and absorb some of these wonderful ideas! Can we take it pan-institutional? Can we have the players create the next version? Can we turn the module non-ARG game that we’re now playing back into an ARG and have the students and teachers continue to play once they are back in the classroom? How do we continue to measure success? Yes, Ghosts of a Chance was successful, but this was pretty easy to determine because of all the great feedback we received based around how unusual, new, and surprising it was. The next one won’t be the first anymore, so how can we keep it fresh and exciting? How do we measure its value? Right now I have no idea, but I cannot wait to find out. Today was a whirlwind of ideas and inspiration, but the two things I plan to shout from the hilltops (or perhaps the Castle turrets) are that the Smithsonian’s core competency is storytelling (from Bran) and that we should embrace messiness (from Chris Anderson). Hurrah for the messy, user-generated, visibly-corrected, artifact-inspired STORY. Bring it on.

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