InStream - Official Blog of the Institute for Productive Tension

Engineering a REALLY Good Scare!

Hi, Everyone!

Personally, you’ll never catch me at one of these places — but haunted houses, cornfields, hayrides and amusement parks are HUGE money-makers this time of year — and seem to be getting ever more popular.

So that makes me wonder … where on the ChangeGrid® does a visitor to a haunted attraction need to be moved in order to feel like they got their money’s worth AND want to come back again with even more of their friends in tow? Or, from a business consulting perspective, how does tension management apply in the design, staffing and marketing of a screaming good time?

As visitors wander through a haunted attraction, they are presented with a variety of experiences, each of which has been designed and engineered to elicit an ideal (terrified) response.  Their responses are based on the instantaneous assessments each visitor makes of his or her perceived levels of ability and challenge to handle each of the situations placed before them.

Some situations, like walking through a laboratory filled with flasks and beakers of boiling colored water, may plot very far DownGrid in Apathy, since visitors would probably feel that their ability greatly exceeds the challenge they face — rendering the laboratory a rather boring element of the overall experience. But let a deranged, chainsaw-wielding lunatic dash into that laboratory, and tension could skyrocket into the highest levels of Stress, resulting in blood-curdling screams — and an immediate need to change one’s skivvies!

The chart below gives you a glimpse into the possible responses someone could have to each element in the haunted attraction as well as the experience overall.  If the visitors aren’t moved into the RIGHT spots — and moved into them frequently enough during their visit — they’ll be left wondering if they have wasted their time and money and reluctant to visit again.  Take a look at each square, think about the ratio of Perceived Ability and Perceived Challenge for each and see if the labels make sense.  We’ll talk about them on Monday’s ChangeWorks® Forum call.


16 Possible Responses to a Haunted Attraction (CLICK to view full-size)

Who would have thought that ChangeWorks® could have anything to do with Halloween — but isn’t tension management what the holiday is all about? Imagine the opportunities this could present for you as consultants. Detailed tension analyses of the existing haunted attraction followed by advice on how to raise tension even more! Anyone want that job?


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