Interpretive Planning: Spice Girls Edition

I’m an interpretive planner and visitor experience consultant, and when I start a new project with a client, we spend a fair bit of time identifying goals. We often start with a blank-slate, blue-sky approach: “So! What are we trying to achieve here?” But the more I do this goal-setting business, it occurs to me that in our line of work, there’s only so many […]

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Four Hard Questions

Before you start developing your visitor experience product Why here? The first question asks you to evaluate your product concept against your heritage destination’s essence of place. Why on earth should that program, exhibit, facility, viewpoint, whatever be here? How does it honour this place and bring it to life? We are in the business of connecting people to place. We are not in the […]

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Where is your strategic iconic photography?

Part of the work I do in visitor experience planning involves defining essence of place—those heritage values, tangible and intangible, that define your site. It’s a fun exercise but it can be a little bit abstract at first: what exactly is a tangible heritage value, anyway? A great place to start is simply by asking workshop participants to find six iconic images of their heritage […]

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Crafting a Visitor Journey

What is a visitor journey? A visitor journey is an interpretive planning tool that outlines what the visitor sees and does in your proposed visitor experience. It’s closely related to the ‘user story’ that software and app developers use: before you get into the nuts and bolts of coding (or in our case, writing and designing) you first make sure the product makes sense from […]

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Nature, Travel, and Being Canadian

(This is the text from my presentation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Nature Talks series, which I delivered in Calgary on November 7, 2018 on behalf of Toque and Canoe. Text and images by Don Enright.) I’d like to thank the Nature Conservancy of Canada for inviting me to speak on behalf of Toque and Canoe this evening, and I’d like to acknowledge respectfully that […]

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What is a Visitor Experience Product?

In the tourism or visitor experience sector, the term “product” is used broadly. It refers to anything you offer to your public, in which they might invest money or time.  Note that in this sense, we don’t differentiate between products and services, the way one might elsewhere in the business sector. Our products often are services, or a combination of a physical product and a […]

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western painted turtle

Mission Creep, Turtles, and You

If your organization has been around for a while, you may discover that you have a few lines of business that don’t fit into your mission, or perhaps fit only in the broadest possible way. How does that happen? Mission creep is the slow and insidious process of taking on activities that don’t belong within your organization. In the non-profit world, these tend to sneak […]

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sculpture

The Art of Constructive Feedback

I had an opportunity to revisit my old stomping grounds this spring: I gave a keynote presentation to Alberta Parks interpreters in Kananaskis Country, where I began my career in 1982. It was a wonderful, nostalgic experience, and it really brought back to me the value of the training I got from that organization. So much of what I know about family programming, theatrical programming, […]

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klondike

There are no meanings inherent in your resource.

Which is not to suggest that your resource is without meaning. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately putting together basic training for interpreters, and one of the first things we always try to do is define exactly what our profession is. You’d think that’d be easy; it ain’t. Every time I try to define interpretation, I come away less convinced than ever that […]

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