Prototyping Change : Global Service Jam

From Ideation to Changing City Services in 48 Hours

Global Service Jam logo around the world (2012)

During the weekend of February 26th, hundreds of cities on more than 50 countries around the world participated in Global Service Jam, a worldwide event with the goal of rethinking services to improve people lives. Strongly rooted in design thinking and service design approach, 1,248 projects were conceived in less than 48 hours, ranging from ideas to improve public transportation in Jakarta to fighting gentrification in NYC. While workshops on similar theme is already popular, Global Service Jam differentiates through its sheer scale and openness: all projects, regardless of their degree of completeness and feasibility, are published in the website. Additionally, most organizers created their own website, social media stream with hashtags, and even live video broadcast to make idea exchange as easy as possible. While the event itself is city services-oriented in nature, “jammers” came from diverse background and are welcome to contribute to ideas according their expertise.

This positioning is often contrasted with how the city government design their services through formal and closed meetings with bureaucrats whose role are mostly to manage instead of coming up with fresh new ideas backed with creative experts. The time constraint combined with rapid trial and error approach might seem rushed and potentially overlooks things that is accounted for through conventional approach, but it can be argued that service jam actually brought new perspective to the table based what the citizen actually felt and experienced while dealing with existing city services. Indeed, the first event on 2013 was a spontaneous collaboration between design enthusiasts who were critical on how poorly city services were designed, implemented, and communicated. The huge positive response on the first event then gave rise to thousands of likeminded designers, thinkers, and experts dedicating their weekend once every year to participate in the jam. It even spawned sister events, Sustainability Jam and GovJam in 2015.

Jakarta Smart City Lounge during Global Service Jam 2016

In Jakarta, Indonesia, the 2016 JKT Service Jam was organized in collaboration with Jakarta Smart City team, whose lounge and command center room played host to dozens of participants. In house city services expert provided contextual information on the pressing issues, while participants can also identify problems through the large screen displaying key cities statistics and geospatial data. Some of the potential ideas were also followed up with further discussion on how to make them into reality through apps and systems that aligns with the development of Jakarta smart city initiative.