In October 2019, one of the most important events worldwide in Service Design, the Global Gov Jam, took place for the first time in Córdoba. I had the privilege of taking part as one of the organizers. It was a unique experience for me and the participants as well. We had the opportunity of having some very important sponsors coming on board, including Making Sense, who played a key role in making this event a success.

This first Córdoba edition –CBAGovJam-, part of a global event called Global Gov Jam, was focused on Public Services design, which means the design of any services that are provided by the state and afford by citizen’s taxes.

What does “Service Design” mean?

There are several ways to define Service Design. One, according to the book “This is Service Design Doing, is:

“As a human-centered, collaborative, interdisciplinary, iterative approach that uses research, prototyping, and a set of easily understood activities and visualization tools to create and orchestrate experiences that meet the needs of the business, the user, and other stakeholders”.

So what’s a “Jam”?

Imagine a Jam session in music, where you come together, bringing your instruments, your skills, and your open mind. Someone sets up a theme and you start to Jam around it. You don’t overanalyze it, you don’t discuss it to death, you Jam. Together, you build something which none of you could have built alone.

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…

Global Jams works in 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.

Global Service Jam is a non-profit activity organized by an informal network whose members share a common passion for growing the field of Service Design, innovation, and human experience. Each Jam is organized independently by a local team of volunteers.

You can find more information about the Service Jam here!

The experience: 48 hours to change the world

Let’s talk about our first experience: the CBAGovJam.

Jammers in up to 100 cities around the world were working simultaneously going through all the stages of Design Thinking for just 48 hours (or less!). They prototyped services inspired by a secret global theme that was sent by the Global Jam through a video (which was revealed at the beginning of the event).

Day 1: Clear rules and secret theme.

We gathered to get to know each other and to get a glimpse of Service Design and how Design Thinking works. Beyond that, we were there to find out which topic we’d be working on for the next two days. Global Jam was in charge of that and sent us a video with the topic we’d tackle.

After 2 hours, we had a clear topic, too many ideas, and a lot of anxiety for the days ahead.

Day 2: Doing, not talking.

The second day started with a brief introducción about Design Thinking for those who weren’t familiar with it – remember it’s not necessary to be an expert to participate in a ServiceJam.

Then we jumped out onto the streets to do some research and perform some user interviews. After collecting some data, we were able to clearly define the problem and start shaping some ideas we had in mind so we could prototype a solution.

We were not alone through the process. We were in touch with other Jammers from Luxembourg, Houston and Buenos Aires.

Day 3: “Fail fast and cheap”.

What’s next after research and prototyping? Testing, of course! Each of us was very anxious to get out on the streets and test the solutions we were shaping and to see if they worked. The outcomes were amazing! People on the streets were willing to test our “services” and that made us very happy!

But this wasn’t the end. After testing, we had to record a video where we had to show our service’s development process and then share it with all of the jammers world-wide.

The experience through the eyes of one of the participants

After the event, we started receiving feedback from people who participated. One of the participants wrote an excellent post that describes the experience in the first person and I’d like to share a short fragment.

“I arrive at the place with great expectations after having read on the Global Jams page what the event was about. The place looks fun and cozy. They are waiting for us with something to eat and our first activity: define yourself. Which is your superpower? What is your shield? We all look at each other knowing that it is a difficult activity. Some comments laughingly about the shield. But of course, it doesn’t seem so much challenge compared to the part of changing the world.

In the background Blondie sounds (Spotify list of the event), colored flags hang from the ceiling and everything is good vibes and enthusiasm. It shows in the environment that a weekend of challenges is coming and it even feels in the body, almost like a collective vibration, the expectation of knowing the secret topic and who your teammates will be.”

The complete story is here!

A community is born

Without a doubt, the CBA Service Jam session allows us to create a new design community in Córdoba, giving us a grand opportunity: to set a flag in our city, to bring this discipline that is in full growth not only to designers but also to all those interested in improving services. So why not create a new Services Designers community? And this is how our new community of service designers began to form.

Recap: here’s what we all learned…

  1. Fail early. Test and show what you are working on during the early stages, instead of waiting until you finish. This can help avoid wasting time on something that doesn’t fit with your user’s needs.
  2. Stop talking. That is, cut back on merely talking about what you’re going to do. Just start trying to find the best solution. Roll up your sleeves and just dig right in.
  3. Iteration toward improvement. Work incrementally toward a better version of your product each time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. Once again, thanks to Making Sense for supporting this kind of initiative and for helping us foster our UX Córdoba community. 

Here’s the video with a recap, so you can take a look to know more about how Global Service Jam session looks like!

For those who are interested in knowing more about Service Design, I recommend this post  “¿Cómo entrar en el mundo del Service Design?” (content in Spanish) from #BAServicejam that contains lots of valuable information on this fascinating topic.

If you want to know more about CBA Service Jam, you can connect on Instagram.