I was having a difficult time explaining what the Twin Cities Service Jam was about before I participated in it. Jeremie and I saw a plug for it cross our Twitter feeds and decided to register on a whim because we both have a growing interest in user research and service design, and didn’t have enough time to really dig into what the event was during the work day.
If that last sentence didn’t make any sense to you, Wikipedia describes service design as, “the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers.” In the official words from the Global Service Jam website, “the event is a non-profit volunteer activity organized by an informal network of service design afficinados, who all share a common passion for growing the field of service design and customer experience.” Fun, right?
The most wowing part of this event to me was the fact that it was global. That meant that all of the participating cities around the world were doing this event at the same time, with the same secret theme to kick them off. Everyone was encouraged to tweet throughout the event. It was really amazing to see everyone’s process throughout the weekend. If you visit the website you can see for yourself.
Another memorable part to me was having the opportunity to experience a service design project first hand and work with a group of people with a variety of skill sets. In my group people came from design, user experience, illustration and educational backgrounds. We also had a variety of volunteer coaches. These were professionals in the service design field who helped us through every phase of the process because we were all newbies to this way of problem solving. It’s not every day you work in such a collaborative and educational environment. It was really inspiring.
The event began Friday night at 6 p.m. and went until 5:30 p.m. Sunday evening. To make this post easier to digest and try to ensure you spend time to reach the bottom, I have written out the events of the weekend in scannable bullet points and supporting photos. I won't judge you if you skip right to the photos. My goal is to make a short video of the weekend (another creative endeavor that I have always wanted to do) and post that as well. I can’t guarantee how long it will take me to complete, so I wanted to post this before the event was too far away in my memory. If you want to see my group’s final project, it’s here. Jeremie was in a different group and his project is here.
- Arrive and mingle
- The secret global theme was revealed through a short video. This theme did not need to carry over into the final prototype. It was intended as a starting point.
- Break into groups and ideate what this thing is/means
- Create common themes from our ideation to create “How Might We” statements in order to create an actionable task
- Choose one we would like to take farther
- Present this one idea to the entire group
- Listen to all five “How Might We” statements and chose the one we would like to work on
- Go home and sleep
- Arrive at 9 a.m.
- First things first–breakfast and coffee
- Gather into the large group to learn about using empathy in service design
- Gather into our small groups and break into research partners to hit the streets and conduct user interviews to learn more about people's needs
- Come back together into small groups to create personas around what we learned
- Choose one persona to focus on and define the user, their needs and insights
- Gather into the large group and learn about journey mapping and create one for our persona
- Break back into small groups to brainstorm what service we can design to successfully meet our users needs
- 10:00 p.m.– go home and sleep
- Arrive back in space at 9 a.m.
- Create prototyped service
- Develop a testing plan
- Test on 3-5 innocent users
- Gather feedback
- Refine and test again
- Gather feedback
- Refine and test again
- Gather Feedback
- Now we have a prototype for our service idea, which has been tested and enhanced based on user needs
- Quick! Film and upload our final prototype to the Global Service Jam website
- Watch other groups presentations
- Feel good and go home to let our brains rest
Much like this blog post, this weekend was long. There was a lot that took place in a short amount of time, with many take-a-ways. Now the challenge is trying to entwine what I learned with some of my every day design challenges. This is an annual event and I look forward to participating again next year. You should too.