Creative Problem Solving by Ignoring the Problem
Budgets that are significantly changed (or significantly reduced) after you've already started creating your strategies for the coming year pose a problem.
While this can certainly be a stumbling block, it's important to take a deep breath and come at things from a different perspective. It is possible to satisfy your goals and your budget at the same time – you just need to keep a few key things in mind.
When in Doubt, Remember “Jaws”
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and there is perhaps no example of this more obvious than the troubled production of the classic feature film “Jaws.”
“Jaws” was originally supposed to be a much, much more overt horror film than it eventually became. The crew spent an incredible amount of money on giant mechanical shark replicas – a huge portion of their budget, in fact. These things were built to be as terrifying as possible – the problem is, they never worked.
So instead of beating his head against the wall trying to “stick to the plan,” director Steven Spielberg decided to create a new one. He would simply show the shark as infrequently as possible. Suddenly the camera became the shark, and the imagination of the viewer became the true source of terror that Spielberg desired.
When faced with a problem, Spielberg changed the conditions that created that problem in the first place. To truly satisfy both your goals for your exhibit and the budget at the same time, that's what you need to do, too.
The lesson to be learned from Steven Spielberg and “Jaws” is don't get hung up on the specifics. What was it that you were trying to do in the first place? What experience did you want someone to have? What emotion did you want someone to feel?
Start with your audience and the impact you're aiming for and work your way backward from there.