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Action shot of RWJF Booth at MCON

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Millennial-friendly, Modular Experience Design

The Challenge

Since first joining forces with RWJF in 2015, we’ve worked with the public health giant on several purpose-driven projects, from designing their annual conference identity to creating a robust digital resource for building healthier communities.

In 2017, the team brought us a new challenge: design the experience for the RWJF booth at MCON, a marquee event geared toward millennial changemakers, held in Washington, DC. As a sponsor, the Foundation was eager to display both style and substance in order to engage a new generation of potential leaders. At 10’x40’, the space was not without its quirks. But the real pickle came in the Foundation’s request that we create a one-of-a-kind, energizing and on-brand environment that could be packed flat and repurposed for future events. Game on.

THE SOLUTION

Understanding this as an opportunity to conscript fresh, young minds in our nation’s fight for better health, we knew right away we’d need to incorporate provocative data and emotional storytelling alongside clear, immediate calls to action. The concept: make the connections (figuratively, yes, but also literally).

RWJF MCON Installation Diagram

Focused Message

Assembled stations featured high-impact, dimensional messaging and vibrant, eye-catching colors, while strategically guiding attendees through a thoughtfully-constructed narrative. In addition to national statistics on early childhood, elder health, and race- and class-based disparities, each station included an anecdote of an individual organizing to improve health in their community. The layout ushered visitors toward the center station, where they had the chance to get hands-on and make their voices heard.

RWJF MCON Station Detail: Childrens Health Statistics
Detail of wooden slats used in installations
Hands assembling wooden slat installations
Closeup of Wooden dowels used in installation setups

MODULAR CONSTRUCTION

We developed a modular system—built from unfinished oak for a distinctive, yet timeless feel—that could not only support a range of content, but also be broken down and set up without a single tool on hand.

Detail of Wooden Pegs and Colorful Acrylics

INTERACTION DESIGN

We gave visitors the chance to get hands-on and make their voices heard.

The booth drew hundreds of visitors over the two-day conference, inspiring excellent conversation and capturing new interest in RWJF’s Change Leadership programs. Visitors had the chance to share their stories and ideas for community health programs, taking inspiration from the anecdotes peppered throughout the space, as well as their peers’ contributions.

Attendees Gathered Around RWJF MCON Interaction Station
Young Woman Completing the RWJF Plot Your Health Priorities Activity
Close-up Action Shot of Woman Completing RWJF Station Activity

MAPPING PRIORITIES

The interaction station first asked attendees to map their health priorities, using a color-coded thread that represented their home environment (urban, suburban or rural). Designed to be a thought-starter, the matrix was a perpetual work-in-progress. It encouraged participants to compare their responses to their peers’ and consider how their experience has shaped their priorities.

Close-Up Shot of Color-Coded Cords at RWJF MCON
RWJF Action Shot of Young Woman Contributing to Crowd-Sourced Activity
Detail of attendees writing on cards at an installation station
Installations setup in a large conference space
Detail of installations
Young Man Browsing Crowd-Sourced Ideas at MCON
Attendees interacting with installations

Repurposed later in 2017 at the Washington Ideas Forum, the set-up proved a success on every metric, and will hopefully live a long, fulfilling public life for many years to come.