Leeds GovJam 2015

It’s Saturday and I’m sat at my desk with a cup of tea reflecting on the past week and in particular Leeds GovJam. What happened?

IMG_4488Time to Jam – I returned to jamming, having missed this years Global Service Jam, after a period off work doing family care (see WeCareDesign). It was lovely to be back on track and to receive such a warm welcome.

Team SpiritTeam Spirit –  I found a growing GovJam team of doer’s at the jam, people who give up their time voluntarily to make it happen and do all the jobs that need to be done. Si Wilson arrived on Day 3 with Donuts for everyone… he knows how to make us all happy. We’re a happy bunch and I wish I could work with them more… it’s great when a team just support each other, bring their unique skills and generate energy – a proper ‘can do’ culture.

GovJammers 2015Leeds GovJammers  – They came from national government (Department of Work & Pensions), local government (Leeds City Council) and the outside world of innovators, creators, project managers, admin and the people that get things done and help make services happen. I met a whole new set of people from the city (a few people back for more after last year) with everyone eager to rock the public sector.

Hungry Jammers LHungry Jammers – Yes, we do like good food. (Thank you to ODI Leeds for providing such a lovely spread! We made HQ office rather jealous.) But I’m talking hunger for service design learning and jamming here. I found an increased eagerness to learn new skills, new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. Learning by doing in a safe and fun environment worked well. People seemed ravenous for people centered design, more than I’d seen them before, one group created 12 personas for their cross welfare environment service. In the UK there’s an increased need for innovation in the public sector, due to huge cuts in funding and people are engaged to make a difference in a tough environment. We experienced that through the jammers that came along.

Passport Booklets 2015NEW Passport Booklet – We combined the passport and tool posters into one passport booklet. They were snapped up on Day 2, were stamped over the weekend and none were left behind! I look forward to hearing how they’ll be used out in the field now. [Let us know if you use the passport booklets all feedback really interesting for us.]

Stick Figure GroupsStick Figure Game – After doing stick figures as an initial ice breaker game at registration for a few years, the activity seemed to take off, people loved doing ‘stick selfies’ and we started to use them in a more active way. I’d initially imagined them as a way of  helping people introduce themselves to each other… a stick figure paints a thousand words! It also helps people think of themselves as ‘people/users/customers’ from the start. This year Sharon Dale added little foot stands and used them for the voting stage of the team selection process. Some jammers created new stick figures as persona characters in their service prototypes. Social media seemed to pick up the stick figures and interest was created outside of the room too. [Let us know if they’ve inspired you to do something new.]

IMG_4466 Blind DrawingBlind Drawing Game – Valentina Vezzani (from PACO) introduced us to this game at the Service Jam last year. Everyone is given a sharpie and a few pieces of paper. They join into pairs, look at the person’s face and draw… no looking at the paper! We then quickly jump to another person to draw, and then again. We put people’s favourite portraits on the wall and then use them to link up new connections… so we can see our social network/community developing over the three days. This exercise helps get everyone onto the same page – rough/bad sketches are good… just visualise and draw your ideas, as it helps communicate and develop the real service experiences.

CookTruck PrototypePrototype Building  – this went to another level when a pop up bus and kitchen arrived in one corner of our work space on Day 2. I was particularly impressed by the kitchen hob – with real burners! On Day 3 two new doors arrived on the wall… creating the background for another group’s service. Services were being realised in three dimensions, quick and dirty and we all experienced how effective it was. It was a delight to see how all the materials on the resources tables were used creatively and differently by each group. No rules, lots of open space and resources provided lots of freedom to create.

Live Persona TestingLive Persona Testing – this was a technique I came up with on a recent training workshop in my own private practice. We needed to fast track the learning of how to apply personas to service prototypes to test service experiences quickly. Getting someone from another group to be the persona (or one of the personas for the purpose of show and tell session). There’s nothing like putting a real person into your perfect prototype and testing it out. The uncertainty can be quite challenging for some, it’s so easy to fall in love with ideas, but in a fun ‘can do’ environment it is a way of learning where things don’t work, having the chance to iterate, and then test it again… seeing Matt Edgar’s Service persona as a 70 year old man was hilarious – he may be trouble in his old age. The more people put into this, the more energy and learning comes out.

TomR Talk to GroupCity Interest – we invited guests to our final session and were delighted to see Jim Downie again, Head of Building Capability in DWP Business Transformation (incl Digital DWP) our headline sponsor for this year’s event. He has opened doors for the Digital DWP teams to explore service design and jamming in a new way. I was also greatly encouraged to see Tom Riordan the CEO of Leeds City Council, he highlighted the council’s need and commitment to encourage new ways of working and thinking in the council – seeing Leeds Jamming and Service Design community as a new way forward.

Matt Edgar LeadingMatt Edgar – I’ve had the great privilege to have worked alongside Matt for seven years now… we met at Orange when he became our Design & Usability team manager. He and I started SDLeeds – five years ago and as we’ve invited people to the Thinks and Drinks events, we’ve steadily watched interest in service design increase. I introduced Jams to the mix and we’ve been doing, testing and learning ever since. As some of you know, I’ve been off work for a while; Matt has taken the lead on Leeds GovJam in particular, taking the jams forward to the next level… bringing in higher interest from DWP and LCC and making service design relevant, meaningful and understandable to that audience. Matt has fine-tuned our jam working processes introducing us to Trello and always finding new ways for us to collaborate online to optimise time and limit our number of meetings (we all juggle family lives too). Matt continues to make us all feel valued for what we each bring to the Jam, whatever our involvement, and the growing team is a reflection of his leadership.
So a very BIG THANK YOU to you Matt.

Me taking photosTears –  Yes I know I can be emotional… it’s one of my gifts – I get passionate about real change for the vulnerable and those in need, I’m a people person. I also just want everyday services to work really well for everyone across the city. So when Tom Riordan CEO of Leeds City Council did his little talk on engaging with service design and design thinking, and then a council worker talked about council interest in their service prototype in their final presentation… tears of joy over flowed. It was my Martin Luther King moment… I had a dream – Thank goodness it wasn’t just me… we all shared it in some way at Leeds GovJam this week – we wanted to rock the public sector and we did.

Jim JamThank you – Service Jamming all started with Adam Lawrence and Markus Edgar… but this year’s jam started with Jim Jam our Global GovJam news reader… we loved him! The HQ team is an amazing team that are the backstage magic for Leeds GovJam… we wouldn’t be here without you. From all of us here in Leeds… Thank you!

Note: Lots of the photos above were taken by our fabulous Lisa Jeffery you can see all the beautiful photographs here… Woop!


About Kathryn Grace

Service Design and Innovation Consultant
This entry was posted in Design Events, Design Thinking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Leeds GovJam 2015

  1. Thank you for your kind words and your brilliant Jam. I don’t know a Jam, anywhere in the world, that is better than Leeds. See you at GSusJam? 🙂

  2. Tom Simcox says:

    Great write up Kathryn. This was the first time I’ve experienced a jam and I’m sure it won’t be my last – I absolutely loved it!!! There’s obviously an enormous amount of time and energy that goes into making these events work so well, thanks for all you do!

    Keep an eye on the digital dwp blog over the next few days, I’ll be adding my own thoughts as a newbie to service design and jams!

  3. Pingback: Jammin’ | HR Em

  4. Pingback: Leeds GovJam 2015 – the write-ups! « Leeds GovJam

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