DESIGN SPRINT CASE
Estonian Museum of Natural History
How to design an exhibition as a learning experience?
How to design an exhibition that would really reach the visitor, make them think, and change their future behavior? That was the challenge going into the Design Sprint with the Estonian Museum of Natural History.
The museum context
Using the Design Sprint in a museum context was new both to us as well as to the museum. However, there are multiple examples from the world, where the Design Sprint has been used in museums. That encouraged the Natural History museum to try the method and us to accept the project. We knew that Design Sprint is a powerful tool, but it was once more confirmed by this sprint.
This time the preconditions to running the sprint were perfect as the team was diverse. In addition to the domain specialists, also a marketeer, visual consultant, and educational psychologist were included. A team of various backgrounds enabled versatile ideas and enhanced the co-creation effect. The Design Sprint this time was also different because of its hybrid format, as one member was contributing remotely - completely doable!
Designing the exhibition
The main goal of this Design Sprint was to create the underlying concept of the new exhibition at the Estonian Natural History Museum. While mapping the challenge, it became evident that the learning experience of visitors would need to be focused on. Defining the challenge was an intense process, however, it aligned the team and raised important questions regarding how to attract the attention of visitors and present information effectively.
By the end of the first sprint day, every team member had sketched their vision of the exhibition. The ideas included different options for the content of the exhibition, the learning process, and the visitor experience. The second day started with choosing the ideas with the highest potential. Determining the best ones turned out to be rather difficult, but a good thing about the Design Sprint is that all the thoughts are documented and can be returned to in later phases. After some dot-voting and effective discussions, we had the base of the exhibition in place.
The challenge this time was the prototype. As the situation didn’t allow us to physically meet potential visitors we needed to come up with a digital way of delivering a physical concept. We ended up combining a presentation of one exhibition piece with sound and the imagination of testers. While testing we followed a scenario of a museum visit. Creating a realistic and comfortable experience for the tester required the moderator to experiment with how much information can be revealed without guiding the tester too much.
As a result of the Design Sprint, the museum team created an underlying concept of their new exhibition and designed a learning experience for the visitors. Testing the concept with potential visitors provided valuable feedback to the ideas and gave a wider understanding of their connection to the exhibition topic.
During the design sprint, Studio Leek team delivered a digital prototype of one exhibition piece, illustrating the learning process at the exhibition . The prototype was validated during five interviews with potential museum visitors from 3 different target groups. We concluded the sprint with an extensive Design Sprint report with process description, main outcomes, and suggestions for the next steps.