Tag Archive | Global Service Jam

Bench of Awkward Conversations – Global Service Jam 2018

9th to 11th March 2018 teams around the world were jamming it up on six continents on the Global Service Jam.


In Helsinki, around 30 participants and a mentor/organiser team met up on Friday 9th after a hard week’s work to immerse in a weekend of ideating, prototyping, and having fun. With some intros to the ways of jamming and getting to know our newly-formed teams we dived straight into the process.

Talk about a fuzzy front-end…

IMG_0788 The theme for this year’s Jam, revealed to us in the form of a video, was a little vague and mysterious to say the least. After the initial slight panic and confusion (disclaimer: speaking for myself here only) over the ambiguous theme, we set out for the first ideation session. From there we kept building on the ideas and moved on to grouping the generated post-it storm under a few headlines.

The ideation ran around themes that divide people, ranging from immigration to lonely people’s funerals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the somewhat morbid themes, right from the start our team had a few laughs and it felt surprisingly effortless working together. However a good night’s sleep was definitely necessary, so we had to call it a day to return the next morning.

Dragging a bench down the road

On Saturday morning we continued working on our ideas and moved on to some online and field research. With a strict deadline of having to submit and present a prototype on the following day, we had to move fast. Our idea started to formulate around reducing loneliness, potentially in the context of also facilitating easier immigration. One idea was a physical meeting place, a bench or so, where people previously unknown to each other could meet and have flash cards on funny or easy conversation topics. IMG_0791
Soon we were building our first prototype, The Bench, and taking it to the test – in the process carrying a physical bench from the Think Company to Esplanadi to observe and interview the people who were passing and perhaps connected with it. The results guided us to make some adjustments and modifications, with some more testing and iterating also left for the following day.

As in any old Design process, iteration did take a fair bit of our Jam time. Adjusting our prototype and validating our ideas or letting some go were a central part of the process, and although sometimes hard, it was good practise in letting the testing and users guide the results instead of the ideas of the designers themselves. This seems like a continuous lesson that one can’t think about too much!

Presenting: Bench of Awkward Conversations

IMG_0801On Sunday we kept improving our prototype and preparing for presenting it to the judges. The day ended with each team presenting their idea and prototype, all in their own way clever and unique. The judges’ feedback helped us to finalise our idea and change the ideas’s name back to the original working name, Bench of Awkward Conversations. The feeling at the end of the weekend was that of euphoria and exhaustion. Many left this Jam already looking forward to the next one, me included!


The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

How to make drinking water cool

I’ve always liked challenges and when I learnt that Laurea Leppävaara will be hosting the Global Service Jam in February 2016 I decided to take part. So far, I’ve been pretty much a novice in service design, but I like the idea of “learning by doing”, which is a key element of service design and the motto of Laurea. The 48-hour workshop started with an interesting lecture about empathy and how it can be efficiently used in service design. After the lecture we were tense and unsure what the future (evening) holds. The only thing we knew was that within the next few minutes the global Jam theme would be pronounced. The minutes were long and I felt like time just slows down. My heart rate increased by the minute, I was so excited! When the theme was finally released I guess I was not the only one who was totally flabbergasted. They announced the theme in a form of sound that sounded like something had just dropped into water. After that, we (jammers) were instructed to write down one problem which first comes to our mind around this theme. The best ideas were selected by scoring them. Every jammer then chose the most interesting idea out of them and teams were built.

team coolWater

The main problem of our team concerned how to reduce the usage of water bottles (plastic bottles). At the same time we wanted the user look cool when using the bottle. While brainstorming, ideas were eagerly exchanged, laugh could not be avoided and it was funny to note that most of the team members carried plastic water bottles with them. Eventually, we came up with an idea to create an intelligent, cool looking reusable water bottle, coolWater, which can be filled up at coolWater refill stations. We did not want to concentrate only on the appearance but also on the material. The bottle needs to be durable, ecological and easy to carry.  This led us to consider a brand new smart, carbon fibre bottle. We also thought about today´s technology. The coolWater bottle has a sensor which is connected to the user´s smartphone. It provides current data, for example the amount of bacteria inside the bottle and alerts when the bottle needs to be washed. From the health perspective, when the user grabbs the bottle it measures his/her level of hydration and sends the information to the user´s coolWater app.


Finally, last but not least, the bottle label can be personalized. The users can download their own photos into the label which is made of electronic paper. Besides the intelligent bottle, we wanted to create a user-friendly app. By using the coolWater app the user can easily order the bottle with the features he/she likes and the navigation system helps finding the nearest coolWater refill station which can be found on airports, shopping centers, gyms, schools, etc. Therefore, the users are not forced to refill their water bottles in the public restrooms anymore.

In order to understand the need for this kind of intelligent water bottle, we conducted a consumer survey at shopping center Sello. We got a lot of good feedback and most of the participants told us they would buy the bottle if made available. The participants felt that the most important features of the bottle were cleanliness, easy washing and a personalized layout.

As we know, 48 hours is a very short time to create a totally new service design but we made it! We were able to draft business model canvas for coolWater, create personas according to consumer research and make a video which presented the prototype.


Our team had a lot of talent for which I am truly thankful. But we were not the only ones. 48 hours of work culminated in great presentations which all had something unique and innovative for the listeners.

Now, few weeks later I am still smiling. 🙂 It was just phenomenal to work with people you did not know before and build the best group spirit ever. Thank you to my teammates Karolina, Laura, Hanna, Mika, and Jouni for making this possible. I would also like to thank our mentors whose support was supervaluable. Last but not least, a warm thank you to the organizers of this event, you made it memorable. All the information I gathered about service design within these 48 hours is now in use in my daily work. I can easily say this was one the best experiences in my life and I want to say to anyone who has the opportunity to take part in the jams in the future, go for it!


Global Service Jam Helsinki 2016 – rookie´s point of view

Global Service Jam Helsinki 2016 took place at Laurea Leppävaara campus on 26-28th February. There were about 50 Jammers at Leppävaara but we had other Jammers all around world; about 40 countries and 100 cities were Jamming together with us at the same time. The main idea of the Jam is to work in small teams and develop new services and solutions based on a certain theme by processing ideas into hands-on solutions while using service design methods, problem solving, testing and prototyping.

The secret theme was announced on Friday evening; a sound of a water splash! This splash inspired everyone thinking a problem related to this sound which they would like to solve during the Jam. Small teams were created around those problems which we participants found were the most interesting ones.

Our team´s problem was: How to reduce the use of water bottles and still look cool when drinking water. On Friday we started brainstorming ideas and themes around this problem. We used Legos building up different environments where people use water. We also thought of different purposes people need water for. Based on this, we ended up thinking if people would know the closest source for water, would it reduce the amount of bottled water purchased from e.g. supermarkets and stores. As a solution we created a mobile application “Easy Water”, which finds you the closest water point based on your location and provides you a map to locate it. We built a paper prototype of the application to show to people at Sello shopping center on Saturday.



On Saturday we interviewed people at Sello and showed and talked them through our application. At the same, we gathered their ideas and development proposals. Back at campus, we tried to develop our idea and application further based on that information. Because none of use hadn´t shoot videos before, we started working on a power point presentation as our final presentation to show on Sunday.

On Sunday we continued working on the final presentation when heard from mentors and tutors that power point presentations were not liked (at all) as a way of presenting. We didn´t know this, being rookies all the three of us… We had roughly two hours left before final presentation show time to come up with totally new idea of conveying our solution to other and to judges. We ended up acting it!! What a relief it was when the presentation was over. We made it, with so little experience and in such a short time!

My advice: Go Jamming even if you´re a rookie! It will be a learning lesson by doing, not lectures. It feels difficult and frustrating at times but you also gain those Ahaa!-experiences as well. And you learn a big deal from others; mentors, tutors, visiting lecturers, other teams and from your own team members. You even might want to go jamming again!

Work- a Head

I was also participant in Jamming last week at Laurea Leppävaara-campus. Service Jam is about developing new services.  Teams will move from ideas to hands-on solutions using methods from service design, innovative problem solving, and rapid prototyping”.  Testing and prototyping and making new app was very interesting. it was hard and busy time, but I like it and enjoyed it much.

There were 4 of us in our team. We had good feeling and everybody made excellent work. Our problem was “How to help young people to find a field of study/Work that suit them best?” I wanted to find out, how hard that is to the young people find summer  job or field to study.  We came up with an idea of new  application which will help young people to find easy work. Young have to fill up some personality information and profile like what he or she is interested in. After that the application will send five companies name that might be suitable for you.

We started our work whit brainstorming session and decide four question that we will use Saturday morning in Sello. We  made about 20 interviwed  and made after that firs prototypes of our application. People was easygoing and they had time to discuss whit us.





Field work in Sello

We find out that young people need to have work experience to gain work experience. Future work life wants multitalents, but the government wants us to pick one study path. New generations are no longer willing to accept job that don`t suit their personalities and interests.   On Saturday 4 pm. we started to make finally application and started to make handwrite about our presentation.  Sunday morning we made our video hand started to make the presentation. Our project was ready at 2.30 pm. We made digital applicantion and video of our  solutions.  It was very nice to solve the  problem by  using methods from service design.


Prototyping the new application

I can also recommend Service Jam for all students who have even a little interest for service design. Today in many case it will be useful to face a problem by using service design methods. At the Jam you can meet new people and get new friends. I want to thank Heidi, Veera and Pilvi they all are skillful young ladyes.


Service Jam newbie’s experiences in the Global Service Jam Helsinki 2016

On Friday evening approximately 7 pm about 50 participants of the Global Service Jam Helsinki 2016 sitting in the auditorium in Laurea Leppävaara heard a sound of a water splashing. That was the secret theme of this year’s Jam.

After hearing the secret theme the jammers had to think up a problem that needed to be solved that came to their mind from the theme sound. Then the jammers chose seven most interesting problems, everyone picked the problem that interested them the most and the teams started to build around the problems. I chose a problem called: “how to reduce the use of plastic water bottles and still look cool when drinking water”.

Our team had lots and lots of ideas and the conversations were really active the whole Friday evening. We collected all our ideas and the concept called “coolWater” formed quite fast. coolWater concept consists of an intelligent, reusable water bottle, a mobile app and coolWater refill stations, where the user can fill up their water bottles.  You can read more about the concept here .


On Saturday morning we made our first very rough prototype of our idea and then headed to Sello shopping mall where we made a short survey by asking people if they carry water bottles with them and what they thought of our idea of coolWater concept. After the research we came back and continued building the prototype and describing the customer journey by making videos where we showed the actual user situations of the concept. We also described four different user personas and made a business model canvas of our concept.

Sunday morning went fast while finishing the prototype, user situation videos and the presentation. Our presentation was a video consisting of the backgrounds of our concept, user situation videos and drawings of the prototype. We finished our presentation video only few minutes before the deadline on 2 pm.

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Jamming in Leppävaara

Last weekend I was Jamming. Service Jam 2016 HKI took place at Laurea Leppävaara-campus. Service Jam is yearly event where people gather around to create new services in 48 hours. Jam is all about testing different techniques, learning from each other’s and having fun.

This year 102 Jams were organized in 41 countries. Jam has always a theme, which is same all over the world. Theme is never unequivocal. At the beginning of the Jam participants are shown a video from Global Service Jam headquarters. This year the theme was a sound of something falling into water (or at least that´s what it sounded like) a . After the theme was released we had some games with whole group to create problems witch we needed to solve during weekend by creating ideas, products and services. After problems were ready it was time to gather groups around problems. That is how I ended up with the best group of the Jam.

There were 6 of us in our team. From the first moments our team was excellent. Our problem was “How to reduce the use of water bottles and still look cool when drinking water”. I wanted to work with this problem, because it was something touchable and simple (or so it felt on Friday). We came up with an idea of water bottle with intelligence. Our water bottle will tell you when water has too much bacteria, or when you have been drinking too little. You can also personalize the bottle because it´s label is made of electric paper and allows you to download for example your own photos on the side of the bottle.

Lego prototype

Precenting our service with Lego girl

Working with our team was hilarious.  We brainstormed, laughed and encouraged each other’s for better and better ideas and solution. We made prototypes of bottles and apps, built scenes with Legos, filmed videos for our presentation. We were so excited that hours and days just fly by. On Sunday at 2 pm. we were finally ready. At 3 pm. started presentations. We were ready. We were fifth on a row. Our presentation was a video and we were super happy and proud of it. After we had shown it our feedback from judges started with a comment that the first judge had not understood what was our idea. It was devastating. Luckily other two judges had had the idea. We thought that we had lost our chances in competition, so you can imagine our surprise (and faces) when judges pronounced our team to be the winning team.

I recommend Service Jam for all students who have even a little interest for service design. It´s a great place to meet interesting people and think outside of the box. I want to thank my excellent team members Karolina, Maija, Hanna, Jouni and Mika. I´m hoping to work with you in some other projects in future. See you!

team coolWater.JPG

Team coolWater before presentation.


Processing Customer Needs in Service Jam

The theme for the year 2016 was a sound of a plash! On this basis we started individually writing down a problem. The problems we evaluated by idea walking. We changed problem papers and gave them points.
The ideas which had most points we selected. And of course they were major global problems like warming and fresh water shortage. Not very easy ones to start with. I was left with the problem of finding a toilet with fourteen points only. When I showed it to fellow participant, he instantly though it worth trying and set up a new group for it.

We stayed with our original problem, how to prevent people from going on weak ice. Not an easy one. And of course the answer was a website, what else. One reason might be that we had two IT students in our team. As mentors advised us to ask the customers first, we set out for a field trip. Not a bad idea when the sun was shining. The nearest lake Pitkäjärvi was more suited for swimming than skiing. Nobody dared to walk on it. I interviewed several people. An elderly gentleman told me that he would not go on the ice. But he guaranteed it was save and I could do it. Great!

As the first place was not a success we headed towards the lake Bodom. And found a lot of families, skiers, walkers and children sliding with their sleds. No wander we ended up with several customer groups: families, elderly, tourists as well as fast and far going athletes. The customer expectations we so varied that we could stick to our original idea of a webpage. It is easy to say afterwards that it might have been fruitful to narrow down to only one customer group. Even though it is true that all people wanted to go on ice should they know it is safe.

Building up the prototype was hard work as such. As we had the two IT students in the group, the rest of us did more or less what we could. That means writing texts, drawing comics and building Lego models. The truth is that our foreign student did the webpage layout and mobile application views on his own. And he did not even take part in the customer interview part of the work.

service users


We had what we had planned to do, the webpage and mobile application informing where it might be safe to go heading on ice. The business plan was not a very solid one. But there might be potential at least for the tourist and adventure part of it. Gathering the information from different existing sources was not dealt with. It is the most challenging part of the service anyway.

We decided to do our report or pitching with Prezi. The reason for this was the fact that everybody else was taking a video. That was not actually true in the end. Many groups used storytelling and acting as a tool. Our brightest idea was to choose the person, who had never even heard about Prezi, to do the work. The result was not so inspiring. One of the judges said, that you should not use Prezi, if you are not good at it. No wonder, we ended up last in the whole weekend process. At least I think we did.

What are the lessons learned from this days long experience: First of all, you can learn the process without being good at it. Secondly, you should listen to our customers first, and decide based on that and only that, what you are actually going to offer. Thirdly, plan carefully your prototype. That is the only way to get proper feedback and be able to improve. And last but not least, if you are not able to sell your idea, you have wasted all the time and effort!

Good Future Prototyping Processes!

Anneli Manninen, First Timer in Global Service Jam
Team IceCube

Business owners and investors should take part in Jam events

This blog post discusses why I think that investors, clients, CIOs, CEOs, CBOs and other people who are responsible for service quality, organisation’s strategy or business should take part Jam events in future.

Did you recognise yourself? Great!

I thought You when I wrote this.

What is Global Service Jam?

From 27th of February to 1st of March in 2015 curios and open-minded people all-around the world met for fifth time in 95 different locations at the same weekend.

Global Service Jam is a yearly 48h event where ordinary people with different backgrounds meet together and solve ordinary problems people are facing in their daily lives. Simple as that.

But Global Service Jam is by no means the only one of its kinds. Global Sustainability Jam and Global GovJam focuses more in social responsibility issues. Watch also a video about Jams in general.

Now you may wonder “what’s in it for me in Jams”? Next, I give you several reasons why I think that you should get in.

Adopt the design process and rapid prototyping skills

One of the most interesting elements in Jams comes in the form of rapid prototyping. New service concepts are tested and evaluated numerous times at a rapid succession. This is something that rarely occurs in traditional business setting.

The design process in Jams goes like this:

  1. People quickly share their views and insights about problems worth solving
  2. They team up with other people who have passion to solve a shared problem
  3. Teams learn quickly about the true nature of the chosen problem in real-life
  4. Teams ideate how the problem could be solved
  5. The most important thing… aside the process, teams create very early plausible prototypes, test and improve them, until they have found a minimum viable, desirable and feasible solution.
  6. When time is up, audience can experience or interact each teams’ service prototype. No PowerPoints or bullet points.

All in 48 hours.

Instead of explaining here more deeply what is Design Thinking, Lean Startup Process or what is a Minimum Viable Product, I suggest you to go next Jam and live the process. Bill Moggridge from IDEO have crystallized the nature of human experiences very well: “You can’t experience the experience until you experience it”. Thus, you know then what you mean, when you find yourself explaining the previous design processes for your colleagues or clients. Also, you have a proper starting point to improve your new practical hands-on design skills.

Now you may think: How long it takes to play and test a service prototype with a user or a stakeholder?

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Better service for elderly people – Global Service Jam 2015 challenge


The Global Service Jam is a non-profit volunteer event organized by an informal network of service design enthusiasts. The Jam has a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing. Amazing! I heard about the Jam when I started my MBA studies in Services Innovation and Design Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. And in 2015 I was able to join this inspiring activity!

The secret theme was revealed globally on Friday Feb 27 at 6.30pm (local time)… The ideation began immediately and the theme was.. not known!  See the starting video here. For me it took some time to realize that we don’t actually have a theme. We were divided in groups. Members of each group got empty A4 papers, one for each person. Then you were asked to fold up the paper to 8 segments and to write one challenge to every segment. When that was done, you handed over your ideas to a person next to you. Everyone shared three stars for the ideas on the paper and handed the paper over again to the next person.. That continued until you got your own paper back, and shared three stars to your own ideas. It was possible to give all the stars to one idea, or share the three stars between the eight ideas. Finally, we counted the stars given to each challenge and picked up the ideas with the most of stars. We grouped those ideas and decided what the challenge we want to get grips with is.

WP_20150227_004 IMG_1928

The focus of Global Service Jam this year was on prototyping and a key jam philosophy was “doing, not talking”. Global Service Jam lasted 48 hours and it is a long time to do team work. If we noticed that we are stuck and the planning is not going forward, we took the main philosophy do, not talk into the use again. We concentrated more on doing, and suddenly noticed that our project work started to be productive again.

Our team was interested in studying services available for elderly people in Finland. These days all the services go online and many aged persons don’t know how to use computers. Loneliness is also a growing problem among older people. Personal contacts get limited in this online world.

Our team consisted of four persons. Marja is Finnish, I’m also Finnish. Ecaterina (Cathy) was from Romania and Catherine from Kenya. We decided to study user experiences, so went to Leppävaara Espoo to interview people on the street. Catherine and I were a pair, and Marja and Cathy another pair. We discussed with people about this topic and it was interesting to notice that people were willing to talk – even in Finland, where people don’t normally open up to strangers on the street. This also showed how important this topic was. Younger people talked about their grandparents who need help with online services. Middle-aged people discussed about their parents, and of course we talked with elderly people as well.


What we learnt: We found out that people over 70 don’t typically use computers, and they don’t even want to learn. Sometimes children and/or grandchildren help but they may live far way. Companies and supervisors (so-called trustees) are not trusteed. Elderly people believed that banks will offer services for them in the future too, but personal services get more expensive all the time. Trustworthy parties are libraries, banks and public service points (yhteispalvelupiste in Finnish). Major problem is that all the gadgets like mobile phones get more technical year by year. Devices get smaller. If you call for example to a health care service number, and an answerphone asks you to press number one and then a # key, that can be difficult if you don’t see well, or you cannot hear well.

We created a persona, Annikki 80 years old, who was a person we wanted to plan for.


And empathy map helped us to develop a service concept further.


I want to thank mentors who volunteered to help teams in a service development work. All you needed to do was to press the rubber chicken and the help was there.

In case of emergency

Based on the feedback we received by interviews, we started to plan a new service for elderly people. The idea was to found a Café Safe Haven that provides needed services in a cozy and home-like environment. It would be a place to meet people, to remove loneliness, and to solve every day problems in a secure environment (next to the familiar place like a library). We built a prototype of the café and filmed a customer journey video for our final presentation that took place on Sunday Feb 29.


The services could be refunded by government or RAY (Finnish Slot Machine Association that does charity). And members could afford to pay a small membership fee with the money they save when they don’t need to pay expensive service fees for banks anymore.

It was educational and also fun to create a totally new service in 48 hours’ timeframe. I definitely courage everyone interested in Services Design to take a chance to participate in next Global Service Jam! It is worth it! Trust me.

Anne Hirvonen, 1st year student in SID program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences


Global Service Jam: http://planet.globalservicejam.org/
GovJam: https://www.facebook.com/HelsinkiServiceJam

Experiences from the Global Service Jam Helsinki 2015

10393857_741350965951185_8017900955231328757_nGlobal Service Jam is a yearly event enabling anyone interested in service design and design thinking to co-create, experiment and develop new solutions inspired by a shared theme.  This year, the Jam was arranged in 100 cities during the weekend of February 27th – March 1st all around the world.

In the Jam, the participants will go through the entire service design process in one weekend, gathering customer insight, creating new service concepts in interdisciplinary teams, building prototypes and testing the new concepts with real customers.

For me it was the first time I have ever participated in the Global Service Jam. I had high expectations and have to say that my expectations were exceeded. The Jam is an absolutely fantastic event to learn about service design, customer oriented service development, creative methods, concept development along with meeting new people and getting new friends. It is a 48 hour journey, focusing on “doing and not talking”, creating solutions based on real customer needs – and having a lot of fun!  The following video will provide a glimpse of what the Global Service is all about and revealing what the shared theme for 2015 Jam was.

During the Jam we also had inspiring presentations by Jani Turku from IMPROVement and Anton Schubert, the Head of Design at Futurice. The key message from Jani Turku was that creating new services requires you to allow yourself to play, be human, listen, say “yes, and…” instead of “no, but…”, dare to try new things and to be open-minded.

Anton Schubert talked about the importance of prototyping and how everything can actually be tested. It is just the matter of using the right tools and methods. Prototyping is about learning, failing safely and inexpensively, i.e. failing often to succeed sooner, as stated by David Kelley, the founder of IDEO.

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