With all due respect, Steve Jobs was wrong. Well, not the real Steve Jobs, but the mythical Steve Jobs. He’s the one who supposedly said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” What he actually said was, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
We find the inverse to be true: A lot of times your customers know exactly what they want. And sometimes your customers know your business better than you do.
Our most popular scavenger hunts resulted from our sales team listening to what customers wanted. True, people didn’t know they wanted smart, funny, team building scavenger hunts in museums until we started offering them in 1999. But once we got that model in place, our customers started to show us more directions we could go in. We listened.
How About Murder?
“Do you offer murder mysteries?” Perhaps it’s due to the popularity of murder mystery dinner theater: We got this question frequently. So we created the Murder at the Met Scavenger Hunt, in which a fast-paced, fun tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art showed hunters secrets in art that were also clues to a whodunnit involving the museum’s acquisition of a long-lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The hunt quickly became our best-seller on our weekend hunts for the general public, and soon we rolled them out to other art museums—the MFA in Boston, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C, the Art Institute of Chicago, L.A.’s Getty Center, and more. We followed that with a murder mystery about doomed scientists and a cursed object, suitable for natural history and science museums. They remain our biggest sellers.
“Do you offer outdoor murder mysteries?” Some companies looking for team building activities had restricted budgets, especially in the wake of the 2008 recession. We created a murder mystery that we can stage in any of the great historic places where we already offer our “classic” scavenger hunts, which helped companies do corporate team building closer to their offices. This new spy-vs.-spy murder tale involved international intrigue and a surprise text message to avert disaster. We’ve staged it in such places as Boston’s Freedom Trail, NYC’s Greenwich Village and Grand Central Terminal, in The Loop in Chicago, in Chinatown in San Francisco, and beyond.
OK, How About I Go Where I Want?
“Can you do a scavenger hunt just about anywhere?” Our customers didn’t phrase it that way, but as word about Watson Adventures spread, particularly after a nationwide story by the Associated Press and more raves from the press, we kept getting requests for team building games in places that didn’t fit our model of tricky, humorous questions about urban places with lots of interesting history signs, sculptures, architectural details, and the like. We created the Grab ’n’ Go Scavenger Hunts, more like classic scavenger hunts but with our creative twists, featuring team photo challenges, unusual items to create or find, a “Mystery Message” to decode that employed smartphones, and wherever possible a sampling of our “location questions” about local highlights. By now we’ve staged Grab ’n’ Go Hunts in 25 states.
Wow, OK. What Else You Got?
“How about a team building scavenger hunt where the teams frequently interact?” Voila: the new Mixed Alliances Edition of our scavenger hunts. Teams of three collaborate with other mini-teams over the course of three rounds: you are competitors but also allies. This “change partners” square dance has won acclaim from our customers. As once recent client put it, “EVERYONE unanimously raved about how much fun they had! The hunt was a total hit and we loved every minute of it! Truly an awesome and unique experience!”
“We can’t leave our office, we can’t leave the conference center, we need something fun in a restaurant…What can you do for us?” Companies knew we offered fun team building in museums and cool neighborhoods, but what if a company was stuck in a fairly boring place? We brought the game to them with our Trivia Slam Game, like a pub quiz with humorous twists and a scavenger hunt flavor. It’s an amazing race while remaining in place, we like to say. And then we got that first question again: “Can you do a murder mystery game for us in a conference room or restaurant?” We concocted the Killer Trivia Slam, where a seemingly innocent trivia game ends up concealing clues to a dastardly crime. Fortunately most teams bring the culprit to justice.