Warning: Spoilers. If you are planning on visiting The Eureka Room, I suggest you not read this post until after your visit.
I had about two weeks before the premiere of the Eureka Room at EAST. I had never used the thing before and had promised EAST that I would have two experiences on tap.
During my development of Happiness Interactive Lab, one of the most popular things was the high fiving. It was pretty simple. The leader tells you to high five and then you find someone to high five while saying “high five” to them.
During the testing of HIL it quickly evolved to people shouting out ways to high five: “Behind your back… High Five!”. It was high energy, lasted about 5-10 minutes and really lifted everyone’s spirits faster than any of the other things we tried.
So I took that idea and mixed it with the lights of the Eureka Room. When people High Fived, the lights would change. There would be energetic music and instead of people calling out things, it would be done by an off kilter narrator. Sometimes he would say things that weren’t possible to do. Or the lights would go out when you were supposed to high five.
This was also back in the days when I was trying to do a hybrid of “mindfulness” and “entertainment” called Mindfultainment. So the program began with some meditation.
Who Is The Bird?
Due to time constraints I didn’t get to replace the hand drawn sketch of a bird (a la micorsoft paint) for the first testers. They loved the bird so much I kept it. It made a nice segue from “this is serious” to “oh… I get it”. It’s a fantastic aha moment that diffuses the tension of strangers meditating in a small box for purposes that are highly unclear.
I’ve seen about 1200 people go in to this program now and it’s really amazing how many come out excited, highfiving each other and me and many looking clearly in better spirits than when they went in.