The Dundee Service Jam is an event that’s been running since 2013 in Dundee as part of a global network of jams all taking place over a single weekend simultaneously. The main purpose of which is to instil service design methodologies of prototyping and iteration unto anyone who wants to learn, as its an open event. 2017 marked a landmark year for the Dundee Service Jam as for the first time we were the biggest jam worldwide!


2017 Organisers

We had around 10 voluntary organisers (mainly students) who in their spare time would get in contact with local suppliers, find sponsorship, find an appropriate venue and catering, design and distribute promotional materials and build a hype for the event locally. I personally was in contact with other jams around the world making sure we knew how to deliver a successful event and stay in touch through the weekend.

When it came down to the weekend we curated the event from behind the scenes and front of stage. We delivered talks, welcomed participants, set up tech and materials, instructed and mentored from start to finish. When we had time we also participated in the teams and had a great time prototyping and iterating ideas.

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The Jam starts on the Friday night with a ‘get to know you’ session with icebreakers and refreshments before we get in to it. An introduction to service design and jamming from Scottish Government’s Anna Henderson follows alongside a key note speech from Creative Dundee’s Gillian Easson. After this we revealed the secret theme of, “hello? lo? o? o.” and got people to begin thinking abstractly about how they could interpret it. People brainstorm their ideas out on to post it notes before we affinity map them together in to clusters. A break for dinner provides some much-needed space to digest not only food but the ideas they’ve come up with. After dinner teams are formed based on interests and what people naturally find to be interesting topics they want to tackle. Teams then discuss their feelings on the topics at hand and find some common ground on how they want to progress. At the end of the night its time for a ‘debrief’ otherwise known as the pub.


Prototype Made By Team GRAPEVINE

Saturday is the main day for prototyping with teams given a short talk in the morning from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Interior Environmental Design Lecturer Linsey McIntosh on how to approach prototyping. Teams are then given time to make their first iteration before heading out to the streets of Dundee to test their prototypes with the public. After some valuable feedback, they head back for lunch and contemplate what they’ve discovered. Here they’re introduced to such methods as the business model canvas, customer journey mapping, personas, storyboarding and much more with the opportunity to use as many as many of these as they want. After iterating multiple more times its time for dinner (Papa John’s pizza for the win) getting us over that hard hump of being in the middle of a jam.


One Team Skypes with our international twin

After dinner, we catch up (in teams) with some jams around the world from Istanbul to Amsterdam getting feedback on our new and improved prototypes. These international perspectives prove to be crucial for thinking of things we hadn’t previously considered. Implementing these suggestions before the day ends allows for a new horizon the next day. After this its time for a ‘debrief’ at the pub.

On the final day, teams learn about blueprinting their ideas and public speaking from Director of Open Change Mike Press helping teams consider how they can really flesh out their ideas practically and how they can speak about them confidently. Teams are then given a final opportunity to go out and get feedback before they pitch back to everyone. At the pitches we adopt the phrase show don’t tell as the jam is about doing not talking, this means we don’t want to see polished fancy presentations and scripts but instead an honest and vulnerable but well considered interactive prototype. This allows for progress and further learning beyond the jam.

Teams are then welcomed to have a last hoorah and are shown some further resources where they can further explore service design, stay in touch and more! 2017, a jam well done!

(During all the seriousness that is a jam we find time to play too, this year we did the Ed Sheeran Shape of You dance challenge)

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