Call it whimsy. Call it ethnography. I decided to pick up some operations and planning work for Super Bowl LII.
My project involved the Super Bowl Experience, driven by Genesis, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. On the fourth day, one of the regular staffers came over with an odd request. “Could you steam these? I’m sorry to ask, but we really need the help.”
My blank look must have been expressive, because she laughed, pointed to the stack of NFLteam flags, and the clothes steamer nearby. “They came in wrinkled. Would you be willing to steam them?” With an apologetic look, she said, “we can’t put them up like this.”
Why not? I unfolded the flags, set up on a coat rack, and started with the Seattle Seahawks. I moved through the National Football Conference teams (paying special attention to the Minnesota Vikings flag), and my partner helped with the American Football Conference.
As I worked, I thought about the thousands of tiny details that are involved in planning for an event like the Super Bowl. Some of them seem unimportant – does it really matter if there’s a wrinkle in the middle of the New England Patriots flag? But those small details contribute to the experience. And to a Patriots fan, even if he or she doesn’t consciously notice, it makes a difference.
The details matter.