About the Jam

What is "the Jam"?

One special weekend, people interested in service and customer experience will meet at locations all over the globe. They will be designers, students, academics, business people, unemployed people, customers, mums, kids and grand-dads.

In a spirit of experimentation, innovation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams will have less than 48 hours to develop and prototype completely new services, products or initiatives inspired by a shared theme.  At the end of the Jam, their collection of brand new insights and prototypes will be published to the world.

What a Jam is...

Imagine a Jam session in music. You come together, bringing your instruments, your skills, your open mind.  Someone sets up a theme, and you start to Jam around it. You don't overanalyse it, you don't discuss it to death, you Jam. You bounce your ideas off other people, and play around with what comes back. Together, you build something which none of you could have built alone. And at the same time, you are learning new ideas, discovering more about how you work and whom you best work with, sharpening your skills, and having a great time. And who knows, maybe there are one or two ideas there which might make it to the next album. Or maybe you Jammed so well, you decide to form a band...

The Global Jams work in just the same way. But it's not music you are Jamming - it's insights and ideas. You'll be working with people you might never have met before, bouncing insights and ideas off one another and building on what bounces back. And it's not just talking - you are here to build a functioning prototype and plan of action which you or somebody else might want to develop further. Can you prototype and plan in a way that someone could push the process of exploration further, knowing what resources they would need, what they should do, and who they should talk to?  That's the challenge of the Jam.

What a Jam isn't...

We love conferences. But a Jam isn't one of those. You are not here to lecture, or to listen, or just talk (though some local Jams might include some theory input). You are here to work together, to prototype and build something which already on the way to becoming real.

We love networking groups and "design drinks". But a Jam isn't one of those. You're not here to show off your skills, to chat about what's happening in your field (although those things might happen). You'll be making contacts and sharing knowledge in the best possible way - by actually working through ideas, plans and building together.

We love discussion groups, barcamps and unconferences . But a Jam isn't one of those. Although the Jam might be free form, there is a clear goal for the weekend - functioning prototypes which have the potential to become real, and which will be published to the world at the end of the weekend.

We love start-up events. But a Jam isn't one of those. A Jam is at the beginning of an innovation cycle, and you will working with strangers. You might not want to start a business with them on Monday morning, your prototype might not even be viable yet - but that's OK! A thriving start-up is a possible outcome of a Jam, but it's certainly not the goal. Put another way, a musician does not go to a Jam to record an album - that's what a studio is for.

What happens in those 48 hours?

Day 1:  Form a team

Meet your local innovators, form teams, and pick a starting point inspired by a secret global theme.

Day 2: Build prototypes

Go out into the real world to discover insights and use them to start building something new

Day 3: Iterate and share

Collaborate with your team to improve your prototype and share it with people in your community and the world.

History of the Jam

The first Global Service Jam took place in March 2011, where more than 1200 participants in more than 50 cities created around 200 unique service designs around the Theme "(Super)HEROES".

Its sister event, the Global Sustainability Jam, tool place in October 2011. Around 800 participants in more than 40 cities created over 100 services, products and initiatives around the theme "PLAYGROUNDS".

In 2012, the first GovJam was initiated by Protopartners, The Australian federal Government and WorkPlayExperience. WorkPlayExperience initiated the global version, Global GovJam, in 2013.

The Global Service Jam and it's sister events Global Sustainability Jam and Global GovJam are non-profit volunteer activities organized by an informal network of service design afficinados, who all share a common passion for growing the field of service design, innovation and human experience.

"The Jam" has a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing.​

Initiators: Markus Hormess and Adam Lawrence of WorkPlayExperience

Initial advisors: We would like to thank all those who helped during the first stages of each Jam, specially Mario Giudici, Daniel Hunziker, Nico Morelli, Bob Jacobson,  Eva-Karin Anderman, Lauren Currie, Sarah Drummond, the volunteers who helped behind the scenes on the Jam HQ and all hosts who make Jams happen across the globe.

Special thanks to Jason Cooper, Noémia Guarda and the GovJam team who generously designed the logos for the Global Service Jam, Global Sustainability Jam and Global GovJam (respectively)

Thanks guys! :)


Cities that have jammed


local Jams since 2011


Jammers worldwide


prototypes published

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