I’ve come to believe the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) is the home of bad signage.

From the incredibly vague, confusing signs on the long trek to the rental car area to the terminals seeming to be referred to as “Lindbergh” and “Humphrey” inside the airport, but “Terminal 1” and “Terminal 2” outside, it’s clearly not the most passenger-friendly airport I’ve visited in my travels.

This sign, although not a significant nuisance like the crappy rental car or terminal signage, still caught my eye while waiting for a flight last week. The headline is all about the conveniences just minutes away inside the airport for shoppers and diners, yet the graphic goes beyond the food court and shopping down the hall to include Des Moines and Tokyo for whatever reason. The length of time to travel to both of these locations, however, is shown in hours.

Huh? I thought the whole thing was about being MINUTES away.

This is a great example of why you should want people who don’t have apparently strategic jobs to still be able to step back and make strategic connections in their work.

If the designer creating the sign is the last stop in the decision chain on this sign, then I’d want the designer to have enough wherewithal to raise a hand and say, “Hey, these times for Des Moines and Tokyo should be in minutes too!”

It’s not hard people:

Got it?  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can get your staff Brainzooming through tailored training and exercises to be better strategic thinkers and implementers!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “Bad Signs and Missed Strategic Connections in the @MSPAirport”

  1. Karen says:

    Umm, yes sir, got it! Bad travel experience to/from the Twin Cities, eh?

    • Mike Brown says:

      Wow Karen – You’re up early!

      Actually, it wasn’t a bad experience necessarily, it was just a nuisance experience…and spending time with friends, the exchange with Mall of America, and the BMA presentation and time to catch up with a former client were all WONDERFUL!

      From previous trips, I knew the rental car walk was confusing, so I was prepared when it was up to me to find it and rent the car. A woman who was kind of making the trek with me for the first time was probably more exasperated by it. I told her though (in jest), “I think they could make the signs more confusing; seems like they left a little something on the ‘confusing signs’ field.” : )

      As for the terminal signs, again from experience, I tried to pay attention to which was which before leaving the airport. But somehow by the time I returned less than 24 hours later, I had them confused.

      The upside to that confusion was driving completely around the airport and finding a gas station to fill the car. Of course, there were no highway signs to indicate where a gas station might be, so happy accident. Only later did I find that Budget Car Rentals charged me $18 for gas since I had driven under 75 miles and didn’t show them my gas receipt. I complained about that on Twitter the other day and had a social media specialist from Budget reach out to get it corrected.

      In total, it was a fun time to catch up with great people, share some ideas on business innovation, and have an experience that’s already generated two blog posts, with a couple more potential ones on the way!


  2. Dean Meyers says:

    Hey Mike, would you mind adding your bad signage to my collection? I have a web site for just that named, aptly enough: http://www.badsignage.com

  3. todd schnick says:

    i think bad signage is cause for about 94% of the world’s problems…


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