Global Service Jam 2012: Newcastle {part 1}

by Justin Souter on March 22, 2012


A couple of posts describing what I was up to (with a whole load of others), on the weekend of the 24-26th February.

This post gives background, the second one gives a flavour of what we got up to – in the form of photos, videos, and sound.


I recently attended a Service Design meeting, organised by Design Network North. I was invited to the meeting by Kevin Robson, who is in the process of having a book published regarding “Service-ability”.

At this meeting I got to meet Andy Dunn, who was a key person in organising the Newcastle Service Jam. Andy worked with Louise Papadopoullos and Niels Philbert to put on the Newcastle Service Jam, part of the Global Service Jam. More info at Newcastle Jam – Tumblog, and Service Jam Newcastle – blog.


Article from Newcastle’s The Journal

Our local paper, the Newcastle Journal, published an article with the following, which hopefully sums things up:

The Global Service Jam project works by encouraging people from all sorts of industries to throw out ideas, pool expertise, and design something together.

The first Jams took place last year, and Newcastle has one of its own this year thanks to Andy Dunn. Participants will be given a theme, and split into teams to work on prototyping better services in less than 48 hours. […]

Dunn said: “Service design is a growing discipline and the idea is to bring people together and connect these skills. We introduce everyone and then watch a video with the theme for the weekend. That’s seen by everyone around the world at the same time.

“We then form teams of around five people, and one group might want to do something relating to education while another might want to focus on health.

“We’ll be linking up and collaborating with people in different countries, learning techniques and processes from them and vice versa.

“The idea is really to prototype ideas and bring them to life. The better ones might go away and be developed as new services that can help people in places like the North East.”

Participants range from designers to psychologists, business experts and customer service specialists, and the results of the Jam will be made available worldwide.

Intro video

This is the video mentioned by Andy above (aka some light-hearted footage from the organisers):

Global Service Jam 2012, Opening Theme Video from Global Service Jam on Vimeo.

The ‘Spark’ team

Spark team – Dave, Lucy, Justin, and Anna. We were happy to have Laura join us for Friday and Saturday :-)


Our project

This is what we resolved to investigate:

An exploration of how existing and new services can integrate to support one 13 year old boy. Spark takes advantage of everyday situations and embeds new interaction opportunities into them through a loose network of informed individuals. Spark acknowledges that more than one service is needed to aid the development of Sid and others to instill a motivation to reveal the good in those labelled bad. Through the research process we have identified that key points along Sid’s journey would benefit from suggested or discovered intervention. For example a networking scheme along the way and a community space to share as well as learn.

Feedback from Mark Bailey {I think!}

I’m including the following, which are my verbatim notes (with a tad of embellishments) of Mark’s thoughts about opportunities and barriers in these unstructured / team-building enviroments:

  1. What can I do, what can I bring?
  2. What are the most important objectives?
  3. What should the ground rules be?
  4. Common purpose: what are we seeking to achieve collectively; what is our agreed goal?
  5. Tomorrow morning [Saturday] – what are the deliverables, what are the outputs?
  6. What are the skills in the group, who can do what?
  7. Leadership: every team needs a leader to co-ordinate, focus, create direction, and conduct time management
  8. Braindump: at the very beginning it’s helpful for everyone in the group to share what they know
  9. Commitment to something which has the best promise, and stick with it
  10. The “Devil’s Advocate” role is important to counter group-think

I’ve also got notes on:

  • Jane McGonigal – from the intro video above
    • Urgent optimism
    • Blissful productivity
    • Social fabric
    • Epic meaning
  • Fellow team-member Steve Day’s summary of The Four Agreements:
    • Be impeccable with your speech
    • Take nothing personally
    • Make no assumptions
    • Always do your best


I got excited on Sunday morning when I heard ‘Jammin’ by Bob Marley on the Toffee Factory audio system, features interview with Andy Dunn at 2mins [and Bob Marley until then ;-)].


I hope this post gives you a flavour of the event, and the challenge we chose to address. The next post will provide multimedia to show our workings and our output.

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