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Spaceport America StoryJam

Spaceport America StoryJam
9/6/2011: Team IDEAS is on its way to Las Cruces, New Mexico today to begin a week of work on the concept for the visitor’s experience at Spaceport America. Rick Stone, Duncan Kennedy, Kelly Pounds, Hassan Patterson, and I are being joined by colleagues from Integrated Insight, ORCA Consulting, Exline Design and Architecture, MY Design, Cordova Marketing, SMPC Architects and our good friend and master storyteller Larry Littlebird from Hamaatsa to do a two-day StoryJam™ with our clients from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority and about 30 stakeholders. The Jam team will consist of scientists, educators, spaceport tenants, local and regional tourism officials and business people. We’ll be exploring all of the stories that might make a visit to the Spaceport memorable and exciting. What would YOU like to do at a Spaceport?


9/7/2011: This week Team IDEAS began our work designing the visitor’s experience for Spaceport America in earnest. We have 15 people on our team out in Las cruces, New Mexico for two days of StoryJam, a site survey and a review of locations for what will be guest welcome centers on I-25. Day one of the Jam was packed with work. One of the beautiful properties of StoryJam is that while it generates a focused and plentiful portfolio of design thinking, its also creates advocates and breeds a true synergy (that ACTUALLY means the the total of something-in this case creative design thinking-exceeds the sum of its parts.) On our first day we used about 12 well planned exercises to lead a group of around 40 stakeholders from education, regional business and tourism, historical heritage and archaeological interests, spaceport operators and customers and the IDEAS team;  through and exploration of the audiences, experiences, brand elements and story components for Spaceport. It was a rich day and a long one and intense one. A highlight was the last exercise called “Voice of the Land” in which teams gave the earth itself a voice in how the spaceport guest experience should be designed. The day ended well with a dinner with our clients from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority and anticipation for a good session on Day Two.


9/8/2011: Today we completed the Spaceport America StoryJam in New Mexico. We took the team into an exploration of what each constituency needs from the project and what things could cause it to fail. The bulk of the day was spent on 7 teams crafting “core stories” detailing what story Spaceport America wants to tell it’s guests. The stories were wonderfully diverse and rich with detail. Diverse as they were, they all reflected not only the “space” component, but a respect for the land, the ecosystem, the history and lore of New Mexico and the surrounding cultural treasures. One big factor is the Camino Real- a trail used hundreds of years ago by people who came to New Mexico from the South. The trail passes through what is called the “Jornada del Muerto”. The name loosely translates as Journey of the Dead Man, and probably originated with a German man remembered simply as El Alaman, who died out there waiting for his Native American guide to find water while fleeing the Inquisition in the later 17th century. In truth,  due to the complete lack of water, grazing or firewood,  the route through this area already had a negative reputation. Although quite flat, the Jornada del Muerto took several days to a week to cross and presented great difficulties to the earliest Spanish travelers who were on horseback, with wagons pulled by oxen or on foot. In a fitting tribute to the importance this story will play in the Spaceport visitor’s repertoire, the Camino Real can be seen clearly today from space as a white trail through the vast high dessert. By the end of the Jam, we had created a rich trove of tales and information and a dedicated group of Spaceport advocates. Tomorrow, we visit 12 potential sites for the location of potential Welcome Centers which will be the gateways to the Spaceport experience-even though it will still be an hour away! More on that later.


9/9/2011: Today, our design architect David Exline, our production architect, David Hassard, our project manage, Skip Palmer, our client from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Aaron Prescott and I walked a dozen sites between Truth or Consequences and Hatch that could be good places for the first guest experiences in a visit to the Spaceport. What have been called Welcome Centers (but we KNOW are REALLY SpacePortals) will be where guests first get a glimpse of what awaits at Spaceport America, sign up and board a special shuttle with its own on-board theater and interactive systems for the trip to the Spaceport. We covered a lot of ground and saw some beautiful dessert (see picture). Because Skip left his rental care keys in one of the other vehicles, we had to drive them back to him, so the day ended up at a fantastic local place in Hatch called Sparky’s-famous for green-chile cheeseburgers, barbecue and the most awesome beans I’ve ever tasted. We had a great talk with Judd Nordyke, the Mayor of Hatch and got a real feel for this wonderful town, world famous for its chiles. (No, its NOT a typo, that’s how THEY spell it) We’re heading out tomorrow but a few of the team will be back next week for meetings with Virgin Galactic.


Spaceport America Vendor Registry

Click HERE if you would like to register to offer services and/or products that will support the direct or prime contract needs for Spaceport America.
Bob Allen
A nationally recognized speaker, Bob has presented to various groups that include the U.S. Air Force, Association of Travel Marketing Executives, Allied Travel Organization, National Telecommunications Conference to name a few.