What would you create if the only direction you got was the theme ‘Hello? Lo? Lo. O? O’? For the 7th year running, we hosted the Glasgow leg of the 48-hour annual Global Service Jam, joining over 100 cities across the world.
We gathered designers and service enthusiasts at The Whisky Bond for an intensive weekend filled with challenges, games and rapid prototyping. The aim? Designing services to solve problems around the elusive theme.
In the process, the jammers learned new tools, experienced new ways of working, and got to share their ideas with the rest of the world – and had a great time doing it.
Like in all previous Jams, we were on hand to facilitate the weekend’s activities and make sure that everything was running smoothly – from designing to catering. This year, we had veteran jammer Keira leading the pack, supported by Marie, Afsa, Keir, and Harriet.
With over 40 jammers armed with sharpies, post-its, and an endless supply of coffee provided to us by Dear Green, the Glasgow Jam sprung into action at the sound of the Jam mascot – a squeaky rubber chicken.
Just 48 hours to save the world
Hosted in 108 cities, the Global Service Jam brings together designers and design enthusiasts alike under a top-secret theme released simultaneously the world over – spurred on by the motto ‘Just 48 hours to save the world’.
The Glasgow Jam began with an electrifying duel of rock, paper, scissors, followed by Pete Masters’ talk on how Doctors Without Borders are mapping remote villages with the aim of stemming the spread of diseases on the African continent.
And just when we thought the tension couldn’t build anymore, the Jam theme of the year, ‘Hello? Lo? Lo. O? O’, was revealed – followed by a flurry of post-it notes and the audible buzz of jammers’ brains at work, deciphering the theme.
Hello? Is it jam you’re looking for?
We thought of everything from loneliness to Lionel Richie and Adele… Jammers spent the evening finding areas to focus on, figuring out what they needed to do the following morning to begin their research, and making sure they knew what tools they required.
With a belly full of pizza and hearts full of Jamotions (coined by Marie), the participants were cut loose for the night.
Saturday started with a communal breakfast. Most Jammers managed to come along while others slowly dripped in later. We video-linked with our twin Jam in Bangalore, a few hours ahead of us, and discussed how they’d been tackling the theme in their city.
The day was packed with design tools aimed at getting the creative juices in motion. Quick-fire activities like scenario building, rapid prototyping and popping balloons with bums (don’t ask!), got our teams ready to hit the streets to test, iterate, and gain insight into how their chosen problems could be further explored.
Should we all be more like cats?
By Sunday, everyone found themselves well integrated in the cycle of design, test, iterate, repeat. Adopted from our own philosophy that showing is better than telling, jammers were encouraged to ditch the Powerpoints and note cards, and, instead, have us experience the services. As a result, the final presentations included singing Backstreet Boys at the top of our lungs, learning valuable life lessons on why we should all be more like cats, and fabulous dancing with strangers.
To celebrate our Jam, the 2017 Service Jam ended with an awards ceremony that recognised the incredible achievements of our much loved and adored jammers.
For an insight into how the weekend worked for one of our jammers, check out this fantastic infographic about the project Belly Rubs, created to help users embrace aloneness.
A big shout out to our sponsors for the weekend: The Whisky Bond, Architecture and Design Scotland and Snook. And for keeping us well-fed and caffeinated, a big thank you goes to Dear Green, The Little Curry House and The Great Western Sandwich Co.