Museum of Fine Arts

Building Consensus for an Improved Museum Experience

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) has a long-standing legacy as a center of cultural inspiration and education. It is among the world’s leaders in museum and exhibit design and accessibility, with an unquestionable commitment to excellence in the arts. As part of this commitment to creating dynamic, memorable, and multi-faceted visitor experiences, the MFA asked Mad*Pow to design and facilitate a user experience workshop to be held with a multi-disciplinary group of museum stakeholders to help define technology priorities and to identify new visitor experience enhancement strategies. This focused but highly interactive workshop helped the MFA to align its internal teams and to ensure this cultural mainstay continued to innovate and to support comprehensive and impactful visitor experiences.

Project Highlights:
  • Fostered alignment among internal stakeholders by identifying key top-down institutional goals and mapping those to departmental goals, highlighting opportunities for internal collaboration 
  • Identified and built consensus around institutional priorities
  • Used creative strategic design techniques to facilitate group interactions
A Fresh Look
Museum management knew the museum’s website and mobile device audio tour app could use some freshening. The website, which was lauded for its leading edge interaction design when first developed, offered useful information and procedural options but, the MFA stakeholders suspected, could be more central to creating an interactive and holistic MFA experience by encompassing pre-visit and post-visit content and features. Moreover, the museum’s audio guide experience supported visit accessibility and enhanced visitors’ understanding of curated artwork, its history, and its cultural importance, but was due for both a technology refresh and perhaps enhanced interactivity. During this strategic workshop, Mad*Pow helped stakeholders to identify and prioritize technologies and approaches that would deepen the guides’ utility and educational benefit.

Inside the Workshop
Mad*Pow used strategic design techniques and other proven user experience approaches to help MFA team leaders — each of whom had their own objectives and priorities — to align themselves around goals for a technology refresh and selecting the most promising strategies to achieve programmatic goals for enhancing the visitor experience and the institution’s internal processes. We helped them define and prioritize ideas through affinity diagramming, brainstorming, and unique facilitated activities.

When stakeholders in an organization convene, it can sometimes be difficult to reach a programmatic consensus due to differing priorities and departmental goals. Fortunately, Mad*Pow’s collegial group facilitation techniques and the MFA’s institutional culture of collaboration and cooperation helped align stakeholders and quickly gave the MFA renewed energy and a roadmap for creating improved end-to-end museum experiences for visitors in a sustainable and forward-thinking manner.

“We moved forward further as a group through this workshop than we had in the past few months of meetings. Having Mad*Pow help us capture that holistic view of our goals for visitors, the audio guide, and our own internal processes was invaluable. And enjoyable.”

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Building Consensus for an Improved Museum Experience


Adam Connor VP Organizational Design & Training   Contact Adam
Chris Hass SVP Experience Design   Contact Chris
Jamie Thomson Director, Experience Design
Jonathan Podolsky VP, Strategy & Service Design   Contact Jonathan

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