Tag Archive | Helsinki 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.

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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Helsinki Service Jam 2013 retrospectives

It was an amazing weekend! A weekend full of surprises, with some doses of emotions and full of fun! 

After a whole week of intensive work, finally Friday arrived. I was waiting for this moment already a long time. I’ve  got a really good feedback from guys attending Helsinki Service Jam (HSJ) earlier and I saw a YouTube videos about other jams. I thought that day that nothing should go wrong, and it didn’t… almost.

1. Friday 16:05 – ready to go!

It was a long day at work. When I returned home surprisingly I felt really good and still had a fresh mind. Normally that time, I would have a short nap before weekend party, but not that day. I knew that there is gonna be something interesting, so I felt really excited. I packed all the things I thought would be useful, and I was ready to go.
I arrived to a place really fast. Immediately, I felt like I am in a right place. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people having the same goal: rock the jam! I felt really happy, that I had chance to be there and do something together with them!
The first task was quite simple. Make your own badge! A funny concept that works. It was amazing to see how easy is to spot people based on their badge colors. It was fun to see how different we were and how many skills we were possessing.
When I finished my badge, there was an official part of the HSJ 2013. As every year, till that moment, the topic of the jam is not known. Suddenly, organizers revealed it and it was a surprise. Everyone felt, that topic was so “wide” and that there is no possibility to achieve satisfying results in just 48h.

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Why should you participate in the next Global Service Jam?

Read carefully the content below and check with your own eyes “Why you should participate in the next Global Service Jam and  if you have participated before, please let’s us know your experience and/or comment what you think about my experience afterwards.

Global Service Jam

The idea of the Global Service Jam is to create in 48 hours a service that could change the world. The theme is secret and it is revealed during the first hour of the jam in each participating city. People are only able to share and talk in public about the theme after the last city has heard the theme. The service solutions are shared also when all cities around the world have completed the 48 hours of jamming. It is incredible how many amazing services are created, and I’m sure that someone really could revolutionize the world.

The first Global Service Jam was created by the initiative of Markus Hormess and Adam Lawrence and took place on March 2011, where more than 1200 participants in more than 50 cities created about 200 unique service designs around the Theme “(Super)HEROES”.

From 1st to 3rd of March 2013, almost 3000 participants were challenged to create a service around the theme “Grow^”, in over 120 cities, and they produced over 500 projects.

Helsinki Service Jam

The Helsinki Service Jam is a part of the Global Service Jam. The idea of the event follows the same idea of the Global Service Jam. It brings together creative, passionate people interested in creating brand-new real-world service designs, projects and initiatives which might make a difference.

Helsinki Jam gathered almost 40 jammers and created 7 projects. The topic of the projects were: Tiny Tippers, LiveMemories, FamilysnApp, Grow your inner child, CAN I BUY ?, Eat Right and Friday at 7.

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