In 2011, the first Jam was planned for six locations. But the idea of a global event where people of various backgrounds voluntarily spend 48 hours co-designing new services that could potentially make the world a better place to live, strongly resonated on social media. They used Twitter as a recruiting tool. Eventually, over 1200 participants jammed in more than fifty cities all over the world. The event has been growing ever since. Soon sister events – the Global Sustainability Jam and Global GovJam – were introduced.
It is important to highlight that all Jams are based on non-profit volunteer activities organised by an informal network of service design enthusiasts. They have a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing. 2 3
The stated intention of the event: “just 48 hours to change the world,” might appear pretentious to a lot of people. So what kind of change are we talking about? What can possibly be achieved in such short span of time? Francis, a jammer from Bangalore, shares his point of view under #thisiswhywejam hashtag on Twitter: “People come back saying two-and-a-half days, it’s this productive and fun, imagine a month! I think that’s a huge change of perception. That’s good enough change in the world.” Taking part in a jam, reveals that productivity could be attributed to creative energy that emerges from multidisciplinary teamwork. The Jam’s mantra was ‘doing not talking’ and the impossible deadlines were announced over and over again by the annoying squawking sound of a rubber chicken. 3 4
“For me”, Adam explains on the Jam’s Facebook page, “a rubber chicken is an invitation to play and a reminder that my responsibility is to my work, not to my ego. It’s also an instant first prototype of almost anything: it becomes the preliminary model and inspires me to try things out. Doing not talking….” He continues: “It’s great to see other jammers adopting the tool, but the most important thing is that the Jam has room for every style and approach. Some jammers feel comfortable in wigs and with toys, others prefer a smart suit and a smile. They are all jammers. A great Jam strikes a balance between having a seriously great time and doing a crazy amount of work.” 5