Blackout #GS2016

Presentation created for the Global Service Jam 2016

Tiro Swaby
Feb 28, 2016 · 4 min read

On Feb 26, 2016 armed with the principles of design thinking, and inspired by a secret theme, seven other jammers and myself boldly teamed up to brainstorm, validate, prototype, and create something special…and oh yeah, we just had 48 hours.

Problem Identification

These days we are losing connection and concentration with each other during social events, business meetings and time with loved ones as we are often caught up with our devices.

Image: Antoine Geieger Sur-fake


In the field

User research suggests that:

People today have lost the art of conversation
Michael, 42 years


  • People still want to use their devices to organize meetings, events
  • People still want to have access to their devices in case of emergency but not use them / use them less in the presence of others
  • People want to be rewarded for not using their devices

The question

The Prototype

We came up with the idea to create a simple app that gets groups of consenting friends, family or colleagues off their phones and back in to the conversation.

Using the Blackout app, groups pick a time frame and ditch their phones allowing them to fine tune their ever valuable social skills, and enrich communication.

At the end of the conversation they can receive group rewards and special offers.

And to make things a little more fun, we gamified the idea with penalties for those friends that just cannot resits their social media itch.


Simple set up

Once everyone has the app the setup is quick, select friends, time frame and penalty.

Selecting friends
Setting the time and penalty

Blackout running

Once stared, phone is put into do not disturb mode, and just the participating friends and remaining time is shown.

Blackout started


If one of your friends checks their phone during the blackout time everyone is alerted and the friend is “busted” and the penalty is levied.

Successful blackout

If/when the time is successfully completed the group is notified and justly rewarded.

congratulation screen
Rewards and details including blackout history

Additional ideas

  • Invitations sent through Facebook or Google could automatically black out our event
  • Energy Saving rewards
  • App has voice recognition feature which picks up social event key words (e.g. soccer) and suggestive posts of social events for soccer in that area
  • Potential for app to assist in bill splitting / payment

Next Steps

  • Further outline and customize to target age groups
  • Customize app to business and social functions
  • Make connections with 3rd party apps and groups to build out rewards feature
  • Expand rewards programs to market segments


Images by

Global Service Jam •

Jam Melbourne •

Tiro Swaby

Written by

Product Designer

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