May 7, 2012
Zelda Harrison

2012 Planet Jam!

Global Service Design Jam 2012, joining 36 dedicated jammers, 11 nationalities, split into 5 teams

Okay. So you’ve come to terms with the idea of Service Design/Design Thinking/Designing with Empathy and all these evolving perspectives on Design, right? If you graduated from Design School a while ago, this is probably a new learning curve you’d rather not try on a new client. Or maybe you need a critical mass of like-minded people to work through a nascent idea.The solution? Join a Service Jam!

Jam Sessions–inspired by jazz and improvisation–are all the rage in the Universe of Problem Solving (read Design). Everyone’s jammin’, even IBM, and they seem to be having a good time.

Here’s an expose to the Mother of Jammers: The Global Service Jam

On 24 February, 2012, in affiliated sites around the globe, people interested in service and using a design-based approach to problem solving and creativity got together in the spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition. Teams had 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme and then publish the results. The finished “product”: a film of human interaction, photos of a mock-up, a dummy website, or anything else that provides a permanent, publishable record of their idea and work. These were uploaded and published for the world under Creative Commons licensing. For more details, visit the Jam Global Beat (timetable). Jams pull in from all walks of life: they include designers, students, academics, business people, customers, mums, kids and grand-dads.

Jammin’, the rules and How-Tos:

  • Sign up
  • Show up (on time)
  • Bring any special tools you need
  • Do not bring a team or an idea. Teams are formed and coordinated at The Jam.
  • Do not bring pre-made content. The services developed at the Jam should be new
  • Work together in a spirit of conversation and co-operation
  • Be prepared to share the results of your work under a Creative Commons license
  • Have fun, have fun and have fun!

And The No-Nos: The Global Jam isn’t:

  • A conference. Though some local Jams might include some theory input, lectures are not encouraged. It’s about working together, to design and plan something which has the potential to become real.
  • A networking or happy hour event: Contacts is made by sharing knowledge and working through ideas, plans and problems together. Participants are not there to show off  skills, or chat about the state of the industry

So while the Jam, like Jazz, might be free form, there is a clear goal at the end of 48 hours, i.e,  finished designs and plans which have the potential to become real, and  be published under Creative Commons licensing.

Here’s a sampling of the Jam Product voted the “Most Feasible” (that’s high praise indeed, given the Jam’s objectives)

Save Mr. Little Carpenter by ARTISINO, Shanghai
Objectives: to support China’s hidden treasures, dig through the mud for the lost pearls of craftsmen and artisans

Team members: Wand Qian, Erica, Tianwei, Ariel, Giulia and Natalie, Song Quing (not in photo).

ARTISINO’s goal is to create a mobile/online directory of Shanghai’s artisans, provide relevant information for locating and understanding them, promote their work and help establish quality standards of local hand-made goods and art products. One can easily buy a plastic stool for 20 RMB OR 2.50 USD, but handcrafted work has the distinct value of quality and durability, to be handed down the generations. Artisans are an important part of Chinese society and culture, in fact they could be considered an essential element of social harmony, and ARTISINO plans to ensure that. “We will look for these hidden treasures, for these diamonds in the rough. We will dig through the mud for those lost pearls.”

Here’s a sobering thought that inspired ARTISINO: According to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, about 44,000 of China’s 766,722 registered heritage sites have been lost and 17.7 percent of China’s cultural relics are badly preserved (source: Lu Na,

To review ARTISINO’S exploration and jammin’ process, download this pdf.

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