Global Service Jam 2012
A few weekends ago, from 6pm Friday, to 4pm Sunday, I took part in the Global Service Design Jam for 2012, hosted by Huddle Design – friends of Blueboat and Melbourne Service Design gurus.
So… what exactly is service design?
The official definitions of service design describe it as the design of intangible products and experiences; it’s about designing the way that business interact with their customers and people interact with each other.
The best way I can explain service design is if you think about any other design discipline, zoom your perspective right out to consider users, context and the bigger picture that the design sits within. So it’s not about designing and delivering a product, brand, piece of communication or an environment, though this might be part of it – it’s about creating systems and tools that empower customers or users to have efficient, useful and relevant experiences.
There’s a more academic description and a ‘what is service design?’ video, here.
And what’s a Service Design Jam?
The official Global Service Design Jam website has a pretty good explanation of what it was all about:
“On 24 February, 2012, people who are interested in service and using a design-based approach to problem solving and creativity met all over the globe. In a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme. On Sunday at 3pm, they publish them to the world.”
So over the weekend, at 95 jams around the world from Argentina to Iran people were designing new services around the theme of ‘hidden treasure.’ At 3pm on Sunday at each jam, teams were uploading their projects to the Global Service Jam site – there are 350 projects up there now. They were meeting new people, learning about service design, discovering new ways of working and thinking and, if the Melbourne jam was anything to go by, having a lot of fun, with a great sense of shared purpose.
Oh, and going through mountains of butches paper and post-it notes, and all wielding Sharpies as our weapons of choice! The photos from the weekend show just how much was mapped out, worked out, brainstormed and storyboarded on the walls of the room we were working in – in fact, it was already 1pm on Sunday (with just 2 hours to go!) when we storyboarded our explanatory video (in post-its and Sharpie on butcher’s paper, of course) and I was able to jump onto the computer to start creating the visuals.
Why did I do it? Well, apart from some weird kick that I get out of working towards a crazy deadline on a project I’m excited about (which might be a hangover from my uni days) it was a great chance to work outside my comfort zone on projects that are beyond the scope of what I usually do. I love the opportunity to work with new people from different areas of design, or creative thinkers from other fields. I love learning new ways of thinking and working, discovering approaches that I’ll be able to apply to projects at Blueboat. And then you come out of the weekend with something to be proud of – it’s amazing what you can achieve in 48 hours!
Our project this year, Sampo, is about connecting volunteers to opportunities, accommodation and locals, enabling explorers to map their own overseas travel experience.
I did the jam last year as well, and our project KiN was a response to the theme ‘Super Heroes’ and aims at connect older people who have skills to share but are not particularly internet-savvy to people in their community who have a need for those skills.
Photo 1 and 5 courtesy of Cat Dos Santos