Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our answers to the most pressing questions from participants or hosts.
If you cannot find your answer just drop a line.
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Awesome, but is this only for "designers" and "specialists" (whatever that means)?

Certainly not. Anyone can take part. You just need to be interested in creativity around the core focus of your chosen Global Jam (services for GSJam, public services for GGovJam, sustainability for GSusJam), and have an open, enquiring mind.

You might be a service designer, an academic, a customer, a student, a customer experience person, a UX ninja, a patient, someone in the customer frontline, unemployed, an actor, an artist, a doctor, a grandpa or a kid.

But why should I participate?

As a participant in a Global Jam, you will work through a whole design process in one weekend. Whether you are experienced or completely new to the field, you won't just be talking about service design, you will be working with others on developing concrete ideas and designs which could become real.


  • You will learn more about a design-based approach to problems, and about sustainability.
  • You will pick up a load of new ideas and work practices.
  • You will meet a lot of cool people at all levels of experience.
  • Your work and ideas will be reviewed by your peers, and presented to the world, where they can be seen by potential customers or employers, or people who could make them real.
  • You will design something that may become a real business.
  • You might get rich and famous.
  • You will certainly have a blast.

Can you say more about what we will actually create at the Jam?

That's really up to you.

Our basic field for this event depends on the actual Jam: For the Global Service Jam, it is "services", for the Global Gov Jam, it is "public services", and for the Global Sustainability Jam, it is (you guessed it) "sustainability".

But in each Jam we will also give you a specific Theme at the start of the Jam which we hope will inspire and challenge you. (This is why it's important not to bring an idea to the Jam - instead, let ideas happen when you are there).  As soon as you have the Theme, you can get busy...

But you might be intereted in a certain toolset or approach, or be interested in services in a particular field, or something we have not thought of yet. Whatever your interest, we are sure you will find a place for it.

But remember, the projects and prototypes you work on are only part of what the Jam creates. You will also create the experience of challenging yourself, learning new tools and sharing yours, discovering new ways to work together and meeting new collaborators. These "outputs" of the Jam are just as valuable...

Cool, so where is my nearest Jam?

To find out, just go to the Locations page as soon as a new Jam has been announced.

Fine, but if I participate, what must I do?

Read the rules for participants. In essence they say:

  • Sign up in advance at the location of your choice. Your local host will organise this.
  • People are already talking about the Jam, so you should follow the Jam on Twitter (@GSJam and #GSjam / @GovJamHQ and #GGovJam / @GSusJam and #GSusJam) and on Facebook.
  • Show up on time.
  • Bring any special tools you need.
  • Do not bring a team or an idea. These will form 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.
  • During the Jam, do not communicate the themes to any Jam in a timezone which does not know them yet... This is Deeply Cheesy, as themes are announced at local times. Be helpful but be secretive.
  • Be prepared to share the results of your work under a Creative Commons license.
  • Have fun!

Grrr! There's no Jam in my area. What should I do?

  • Option 1: Hey, you're a pioneer! Let us know you're interested, and we'll help you find other people in your area. Better still - why not become a local organiser and start this in your region? Learn more here.
  • Option 2: Travel! Seeing the world and meeting new people gives you the chance to learn even more. Check the list of locations again for a suitable region.

Hmm. What about being a local organiser?

As a local Jam organiser, you will host a great weekend, helping others learn about a design-based approach to creativity and problem solving, and about service design.

  • You don't need to be an expert, but you will meet people from your region who are interested in a design-based approach, in service and customer experience, and work closely with them.
  • You will be in contact with other organisers globally, all of whom will be worth knowing.
  • Whether you are an expert or a complete beginner, you will pick up a load of new ideas and work practices.
  • You will meet a lot of great people at all levels of experience.
  • You will have the opportunity to showcase your own experience, interests and ideas with participants and the press.
  • You will have great freedom to organise and shape your local jam as you wish, as long as a few basic guidelines and rules are observed.
  • You will not get rich (the Global Service Jam is non-profit), but you might get famous.
  • You will certainly have a great time. :)

For more, see this short Slideshare.

Hmm... I'm interested in the Jam, but not yet ready to be an organiser. What can I do?

If you want to participate in a jam locally, but are not ready to commit to hosting, that's no problem. Tell us, and we can list you as "interested" for your region. The more people sign up, the easier it becomes to get a Jam rolling!

Just shoot us an email marked "I'm interested!", tell us who you are, where you are located and we take it from there!

For more, see this short Slideshare.

I'm interested in being a host, but what does a local organiser have to do?

First of all, you do not need to be a service design or design thinking expert! Anyone can host a Jam, if they agree with a few guidelines and rules. So read FAQ and especially the rules for local organisers at the end of the FAQ. In essence they say:

  • Look for and set up a suitable location for the Jam (workspace, connectivity, physical requirements, sponsorship if you want).
  • Name your Jam after your city or town, or give it a neutral name; don't name it after your region or country...
  • Be open to everyone.
  • Handle registrations and participant lists (this can be as simple as a Facebook page...)
  • Be part of the organisers' community.
  • Be non-profit. (This includes: don't see the Jam as an advertising vehicle for your product. Be useful, be cool, be present. That's enough advertising.)
  • Don't give your Jam a local theme.
  • During the Jam, do not communicate the themes to any Jam in a timezone which does not know them yet... This is Deeply Cheesy, as themes are announced at local times. Be helpful but be secretive.
  • Police the rules, keep the deadlines.
  • Publicise your event, and publish the results.
  • Have fun!

Remember, there is a whole Jam community to support you - and a useful Handbook for Jam organisers. You'll find it (and a lot of other useful material) at the Organiser's Basecamp. If you need help deciding, read this and contact us for details.

Let's see. What does a good Jam location need?

A Jam needs a physical location, organised by the host, where the Jam takes place. It might be an office, university, sports hall, appartment, boat, tent or taxicab. It will need enough space to host the Jam, sufficient heat, light, power, connectivity, some physical comforts and toilets. It would be good if food were available nearby - from a supermarket, restaurant or pizza guy, or even organised by the host. It will need to be accessible (or partly accessible) for the whole 48 hours* - the Jam is a global event, and the buzz goes round the clock.

If you want to encourage Jammers to make prototypes of physical things, you might want to have part of the space where they can make a mess, play with glue, use a hammer...

You do not need to find your location before you agree to host the Jam, but it might be good to have some ideas for different sized spaces. When you see how many people your Jam attracts, you can decide which one to use.

* Note: If you cannot find a Jam location that is open around the clock, don't panic - this will not disqualify your Jam. However, experience shows that a 24-hour-open location is much more fun, especially for larger Jams.

My team is thinking about focussing our Jam on a certain issue or project. Is that cool?

Every Jam should be open for any ideas.  Remember,  "Do not bring a team or an idea. These will form at the Jam."

So if someone is interested in a particular issue, they should go to a Jam, pitch an amazing new idea aimed at that issue, and hope a team forms.  Or they should join a Team addressing a similar issue. Or they should shrug their shoulders and join something completely different which is also cool in some way.

A Jam which is set up to specifically address a certain theme, or which is set up by a group who specifically want to work together, is not truly open to all people and all ideas, so it breaks the rule above. It's a mighty, wonderful and cool thing in itself, but it's a workgroup, not a Jam. Do it the weekend after.  :)

To follow the music metaphor, going along to an open stage with all your musician friends and a decision to only play Bob Dylan songs is not jamming, it's a public rehearsal.

So, no themed Jams please! :)

OK, so are all local Jams the same?

Local organisers have a lot of freedom to shape and run the Jam, and to decide the local look and feel (a simple example: local Jams are encouraged to to create local versions of the logo). Participants chose their project, choose thier team, and have full freedom to decide on the methods they use (usually they are guided through the process by the facilitators). They also decide on the form of their final upload – though it must be some kind of  "documentation of an interactive, functioning prototype".

All Jams will follow the same rules and be inspired by the same themes. The rest is up to you.

Right. So how big is a Jam?

A jam will need to be at least one team. We think that means a minimum size of about five people, but you might prove us wrong.

The more teams, the more fun. About fifteen or twenty people seems to be a nice size for a small Jam.

There is no upper limit to the size of a Jam. Similar events have been successful with 250 people at one location - it depends on the site, and the local organisation.

Seems like a good opportunity for me to advertise my services or agency, right?

Yes and no.

If you are an organiser, we think the best way to advertise yourself is by being useful, being present, and being you. We think it's cool if, for example, a Jam is held in an agency office, and the agency people really get involved.  But we don't think it's cool if any local Jam is heavily "branded" by the organisers.  The Jam initiators work for an agency too - but we think a "WorkPlayExperience Jam" would be deeply cheesy. A Jam is supposed to be open, and putting our logo everywhere would only make other agency guests uncomfortable.

You're a host, so think of it as a party. Would you write your name on every wall? Would you name the party after yourself?

Banners, balloons, bowls of visiting cards - OK.  But from your sponsors (if they insist), not from the host.

Please do not put your agency's name or branding in your Jam's name or logo.  It is great to show your own branding with your sponsors' branding, but please not in the logo area or name. Your logo might reflect your town, your country or anything you like, but not your commercial brand.  Keep the Jam open please! Thanks!

So, what is the Theme for the Jam?

Shhh!  That's a secret!

Of course, the overarching theme of the Jam is services - but there will be a special Secret Theme for the weekend too.  This Secret Theme will carefully chosen by representatives of the worldwide organising team, and kept Top Secret until it is announced on the Friday evening (local time) in each location.

We expect the Theme will be quite abstract, to allow a wide range of practical applications, depending on the participants' interests.
Here's an example from the last Global Service Jam.  In 2011, it had the theme: "(Super)HEROES".  The participants interpreted it in many different ways, producing many different types of services based on sharing, helping, empowerment, or even super-powers.

The Theme of the 2011 Global Sustainability Jam (our sister event) was "PLAYGROUNDS", so participants developed lots of projects about play, education, the use of spaces, and encouraging play in other contexts. But also about the places we "play out" our lives - urban regeneration, home live and so on.

The Global Jams are more about tools, methods, people, ideas and exchange than any particular field of application.

Stop! Imposter! Someone is trying to host another Jam in my country/city/building! What do I do?

There is no exclusivity of Jams.  Anyone who wants to Host, and is willing to follow the rules, is welcome to host.

However, we think that - because the Jam is about sharing - bigger Jams are cooler than smaller Jams.  So if two Jams are happening close together, the obvious question is "why?"

Cool reasons for having two Jams in the same place are:

  • we tried, but can't find a venue big enough to house us all
  • we already booked one venue, and can't cancel
  • our location is way too cool to give up, but we have more people than we can fit in
  • we may look close together, but the distance between us is significant for some local market reason like transport connections, zombie infestations, etc
  • we really, honestly believe small jams work better

Horrible cheesy reasons for two jams in the same place are:

  • we want to be exclusive
  • we don't like the other people
  • we want to use the Jam to show off or advertise our organisation (well, that's not especially cheesy, but it is not very "Jammy". And it's a bit sad if you think having the other guy in the same room will stop you from looking cool)
  • we want to work in a certain way or on a certain theme (well, that's not cheesy, but it's not Jamming either)

But at the end, it's up to each local host to deside if they go it alone, or merge with the neighbours. If you go it alone, we hope you will communicate and cooperate in every way!

(And we will need to find a fair solution on the names... we suggest "XYZ Service Jam LOCATION"  eg Bratwurst Service Jam Nuernberg and Castle Service Jam Nuernberg)

Tell me, what are The Rules?

(Rules version 01 January 2019)

Rules Background

A Jam is a cooperative gathering of people interested in a design-based approach to creativity and problem solving. It is there to encourage experimentation and innovation. Participants come together without a team, without an idea and are given a subject or theme to incorporate in their new-to-the-world design, while meeting new people.

A Global Jam is a community of Jams taking place internationally over the same weekend. All the Jams share the same starting themes, and publish their local results over a central platform, working to the same deadlines (local times).

Each local group has freedom to structure and manage the Jam to fit their local situation and needs (eg you can make your own version of the logo, see below). A few rules are in place for Organisers and Participants; if you want your Jam to be part of the Global event, you will need to follow these. Besides these rules, we hope that local teams will follow many of our recommendations so that we share a common experience and everyone can work on a level playing field.

Rules for organisers ("Hosts")

To add your location to the official list of Global Jam sites, you will need to agree to the following set of rules:

Be open

The event must be open to everyone – be it designers, business people, students of design or business, or anyone interested in developing products, services, customer experience and and creative ideas. It must also be open to the press.

Note that "being open" also means that local Jams may not focus on a certain theme, nor be branded by any organisation. See the FAQ for more details.

Be non-profit

The Global Service Jam is concieved as a non-profit event. Thus, all locations are strongly encouraged to keep the cost for the participants as low as possible, so everyone – especially students, pensioners and unemployed people – can afford to take part.

A small fee does seem to be a good way to make registrations more reliable (people who have paid usually turn up). Depending on what you offer, we have seen pricing for similar events range from 10 EUR to 60 EUR per person for the whole weekend (the latter also included basic supply of food).

Have an approved name

The name of your Jam must be approved by the global organisers before you use it. There are a few restrictions (eg don't brand, don't use area or country names - see the FAQ "What should we call our Jam?" for details).

Be part of the organiser's community

At least two organizers (more is better) from each location must take part in all digital correspondence with the global organisers, participate actively in the host Community and make sure that all due dates and deadlines are met.

Be part of the Global Jam community

Keep in touch - for example on social media, and remember we are all part of a global event. For example, all local Jams can use the official logo of their Jam, or have fun making their own local version of it. (You are free to change what you like in the logo, but please keep some clearly recognisable visual link to the original design.)

Have a local web presence

They will also need a local web presence, which can be as simple as a Facebook, Renren or Eventbrite page.

Publish your event on the Global Jam website

All locations participating in a Global Jam will need a profile on the Global Jam website. This is usually not much more than a few details, and a link to your local web presence.

Handle registration and communications with your participants.

You might want to set up a super-slick web platform, or use Eventbrite (our recommendation), or Facebook, or write names the back of a napkin. It's up to you.

Keep deadlines

There only are a few deadlines. But these are vital for the whole concept:
All local Jams may publish the theme earliest at 18:30 (local time; this is 15:00 for GovJam) on the first day of the Jam. All local Jams must finish uploading by 15:00 (local time) on the last day.

Provide site contact during the Jam (phone)

The fun part of a global event is that you are not alone but have a community to share your ideas with, or ask questions of at any time. The global team will be there for the whole 48 hours to answer your questions (or those of your participants). On the other side we need you to be reachable in case of changes to deadlines, technical problems etc.

Provide internet connectivity for the participants

You will need reasonably speedy internet connectivity for uploading, and you will also want to use the internet for research and to keep in contact with other Jams. Sponsors might be able to help.

Rules for participants ("Jammers")

Don't bring a team, don't bring an idea

Please do not come to the Jam with a team or a favourite idea. Everyone will have some time to think and pitch an idea. Collaborate with new friends or peers you admire.

Be on time

Please show up to the Jam on time, each day. Your team needs you.

Use your own tools

Participants will use their own tools, including hardware, software, communications and stationery. If you need a computer and certain software, make sure you have it pre-loaded on your computer.

Sign up and upload
All participants or their team representatives need to sign up to the Planet Jam website and add themselves, their team and their project to the project database. All teams agree to publish their work under Creative Commons licensing (see below).

(Highly recommended) Be part of the conversation

Everyone says that one of the most valuable parts of the Jam is to be part of the online community. For the global communication amongst participants we use Twitter, among other platforms. Please add the Jam hashtags (eg #GSJam, #GSusJam, #GGovJam) to your posts, and hashtag ALL your pictures and videos so the world can see them!

Rules on intellectual property

All results are owned by the individual design team.

All services, ideas, art, code and concepts made during the Global Jams are owned by the members of the team that developed them (not the local Jam or the Global organizers). This includes all aspects of intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, designs and copyright. In the cooperative spirit of a Jam, there are often many people helping one another. All members of the team are held to standard industry practices of collaboration, including appropriate acknowledgements to parties (also in other teams) who may have contributed. The design team is free to develop their ideas commercially after the Jam, but the results of the Jam itself must be open, as below.

All results have to be published and archived on the Global Jam website under Creative Commons licence.

All participants of the Global Jam will allow the documentation of their service to be archived on the Global Jam website in the form it was submitted at the end of the jam. Participants may ask to have an update of the documents posted with notice of version information. All works will be licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 ( or more open licenses if the participants choose.

The Global Service Jam prohibits the use of pre-made content (this includes graphic designs, processes, models, audio, program code, etc.) unless it was publicly available at least a month prior to the service jam. Please also make sure that if you use pre-made content, you use content with a appropriate licence (CC or public licence).

All materials made at the Global Jam can be used for demonstration and lecture at conferences, schools or industry venues with the expressed discretion of the Global Jam and WorkPlayExperience.


Have fun! 

As an initiative of WorkPlayExperience, the Global Jams are designed to be fun, and we are trying to keep things simple. The best rule of thumb is that teams should not illegally exploit others' intellectual property, and that in turn, everything we create becomes part of the public domain. Participants agree by their participation in the Global Jam that they will hold no-one liable for any loss or damage.

PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT, (EXAMPLE, as resource for organisers.):
I agree that I and my heirs, next of kin, guardians, legal representatives and assigns, hereby release, hold harmless, and forever discharge <the organisers and site>, its employees, agents, successors, representatives and assigns, from any and all liability, claims, attorney fees, demands, actions, and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, property damage, or personal injury, including death, that may be sustained by me or to any property belonging to me while participating in the Jam hosted by <the organisers and site>.

I also agree to actively participate, contribute and be present throughout the event days from <Jam-start-date> to <Jam-end-date>. Failure to comply with this agreement or the rules of the event may result in my immediate exclusion from the event.

What should I call my Jam?

We need to approve the name of your Jam before you use it.  It is best to choose name which gives an indication of the location city, town, or village of your Jam, like Copenhagen Service Jam or GovJam København. But fantasy names are also cool and fun, like Viking Jam or Little Mermaid Sustainability Jam.  There are just a few restrictions:

• Please use the word "Jam" in your name.
• Please do not use the word "Global" or any similar word in your name.
• Every Global Jam has a focus, like service, sustainability or government services. We suggest you use this Jam focus in your name, but this is not compulsory. (So at a Global GovJam site, you might use the word word "Gov" in the Jam name.)
• Please do not use the focus of another Jam in your name. (For example, please do not call a GovJam event "Copenhagen Service Jam".)
• Please do not use any organisational branding in your name.
• Please do not use any name which includes an area, territory or country bigger than your town.  Copenhagen Jam is cool, but Scandinavian Jam, Sjaelland Jam, or Denmark Jam are not.

What's a Deep Jam?

The Deep Jam is an “expert” track for the Global Service Jam. It is optional. As a Host, you can decide whether to include this into your Jam or not. The Deep Jam track is aimed at experienced Jammers who do not need all the Jam facilitation of the classic Jam. They don’t need to learn, but they want to try new techniques or challenge themselves.

If you offer it, most Jammers will take part in the original track, not the Deep Jam. Teams who choose the Deep Jam track will get an actual project briefing and – if available – a research pack containing professional research data as a starting point, and will add their own local research. They will generally work without external facilitation, but should link up with the main Jam at times, for example when there are check-ins or presentations. Teams who choose the Deep Jam track will be expected to upload and share high-quality research data and insights and to produce kick-ass prototypes.

YES! I want to try to host a Jam! How do I become an official local organiser?

Read this Slideshare? Read this FAQ? OK, let's go! Simply shoot click the button on the Hosting page or shhot us an email marked "I want to host!", tell us who you are, where you are located and we take it from there!

(You don't need to have your rooms booked yet, your webpage set up or anything else - just be ready to try! Your first task will probably be gathering names, to see how big your Jam might get.  We think you'll find it useful to set up some kind of regisitration or group administration - maybe a dedicated webpage if you are a web ninja, or a mailing list, Facebook page, Yahoo Group or whatever if you are not. You can expand your online presence later....)