Global Service Jams

The Global Service Jams provide an opportunity to design a brand new service inspired by a shared theme in just 48 hours. Thanks to their open nature, both experienced service designers and those who have never designed a service have the opportunity to meet and learn from each other at this event.

I was one of the organisers of both Jams that took place in Brno, Czech Republic. I also was one of the mentors at the Global GovJam 2018 in Dundee, Scotland.

  • Activities – going through the entire design process both as attendees and as organisers; guiding others through the design process; event management
  • Deliverables – amazing outputs by the attendees in Brno and in Dundee
  • Outcome – We put Brno on the Global Service Jam map twice. Attendees keep asking us when will the next jam take place. Received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Dundee GovJam.
  • Project duration – Jun 2016 (Global GovJam), Feb 2017 (Global Service Jam), June 2018 (Global GovJam)
  • Team – In Brno – five jam organisers (Míša, Maruška, Petr, Josef and me) & support from Masaryk University. In Dundee – the amazing organisers and mentors of Dundee GovJam.

The process & the outcome

I first heard about the jam at the Service Design in Government conference and introduced it to my classmates from the Service Design programme I studied at Masaryk University. Thus, the idea to do our own jam was born and we organised the Brno GovJam 2016. Since we also wanted to jam ourselves, we decided to go for a smaller event where participants that already have some experience with service design could join us freely. As organisers, we introduced all phases of the design process with some basic tips and tricks, provided the materials, catering and the venue. Aside from the initial brainstorming on the topic, we did not provide any support in the form of facilitation.

Two groups of participants attended the event and each went through the full design process. The outputs can be found at the GovJam website. Our team came up with a service called Building Brno. Since Brno has many empty flats owned by the city that are falling into disrepair, we designed a service that would let people who would like to learn craftsmanship come to these flats and repair them under supervision of skilled artisans. The initial testing showed that citizens of Brno would be interested in this service if it was officially supported by the city of Brno.

Our prototype from the 2016 Global GovJam.

The success of GovJam inspired us to scale the event for the Global Service Jam 2017. This time, we took on the role of facilitators, guiding the 6 teams through the design process and providing feedback and advice whenever they were stuck or unsure what should the next step be. All the teams successfully created and tested a prototype of a new service in just under 48 hours. Here’s a short video showing what the jam was like:

The presentations and other outputs are available on the Global Service Jam website. The feedback received from the teams was overwhelmingly positive. The jammers were happy with the facilities provided, the presentations introducing each part of the design process and the fact that they could consult their projects with five different facilitators, each with their own point of view. One thing we could do better next year is to focus more on networking and give people enough space so that they can get to know each other.

This year, I had the opportunity to be one of the mentors at Dundee’s GovJam. Together with the other mentors, we led the 60+ participants through the design process, making sure their prototypes were interactive, informative and failable – in other words, testable! The participants created several prototypes of their proposed services, with some of them changing quite drastically in the process. The feedback we received at the end of the jam was overwhelmingly positive, with most participants stating they will apply service design methods and process in their daily job, too.

Feedback from the Dundee GovJam (original picture)

One thing I learned…

Facilitation is one of the core design skills. However, it can be very challenging, since you never know what kind of situation you will have to deal with. In the end, you just have to do your best with your current skills and not be afraid of experimenting when you don’t know the way forward for sure. Even though it takes a lifetime to learn, it’s perhaps the most rewarding design skill, since it can help others’ visions to come to life.