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Say, what is a JAM?

What’s a service?

We experience services every day — buying insurance, taking a flight, filing a tax return, receiving a heart transplant. A service is an exchange of goods or value. A complete service includes designed or planned interactions among people, products, and processes in various places and over time. We often encounter a service (like visiting the DMV or a hair salon) where only some parts of its service touchpoints are designed with clear intention and purpose. In fact, most services we have today kind of just “happen” and aren’t consciously designed even though about 80% of our economy is services! You can read up more on services at Service Design: From Insight to Implementation.

What’s service design?

Service design is the process of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and physical components of a service. It’s a collaborative process that brings together researchers, designers, technologists, users and many (many!) other stakeholders and partners who work together to create and deliver a service. Deliberately designing services in this way ensures that people’s experience with the service and the service’s business value service meet the needs of both users and providers. 

What’s a service jam?

A jam is an activity where people gather around a theme to create something new. The Service Jam is an annual weekend where curious people — like you! — come together to work in small teams to prototype new services around a common theme.

Who can attend the jam?

Everyone and anyone can join the jam! We encourage people from diverse backgrounds to join us and bring your unique point of view to the jam. You might be a student, teacher, entrepreneur, designer, developer, business person, community activist, non-profit professional, government employee, artist, architect, actor, hacker, maker, thinker or tinkerer.


You don't have to be a “Designer” to jam. Service design and design thinking are processes and tools that anyone can use for innovative and creative approaches to problem solving, regardless of job title or skill level.

Why should you attend?

You will learn design-based approaches to creative problem solving and gain hands-on experience, all while having fun. You will have an awesome time and connect with passionate people from your community, and from all over the globe. You will make cool prototypes like videos, customer journeys, service blueprints and more! You will experience how a structured innovation process can produce robust, concrete and human-centered results, in just 48 hours.


Can I attend just one day of the jam?


Unfortunately, you cannot attend the jam for just one day, as teams use the entire weekend to research, concept, prototype and test their ideas. We understand that people have other obligations, such as family and work, so arriving a bit late/leaving a bit early, or stepping out for a few hours, is ok. If you can't make the entire weekend, but want a taste of the jam, consider getting involved as a volunteer!

What do you mean "prototype"...what exactly will we make?

A prototype can be anything that makes the experience of your service real and tangible, like the different artifacts a customer would use as part of your service. While you will start the weekend out with tons and tons (and tons) of post-its, you will end the weekend with your service fully realized.


You might act out a skit, you might make a video...or you might make a whole new world out of cardboard. The possibilities are endless!


Check out some of the prototypes from prior years' jams below, or view all the prototypes from around the world!


Growing Awareness, Conserving Water. A simple device you can add to any water source in your house to help you be more aware of your water consumption. It will track your water usage so you can be more conscious of how much water you use, and help you save money along the way!


Open City provides cultural explorers with personally curated experiences. Our service gives travelers the inside story of the people, places and happenings that reveal the riches of the city. An Open City package, called a Matelin (portfolio), might include a book along with a personalized music collection, handarts, maps to out-of-the-way places. Open City travelers get exclusive access to restaurants, clubs and people all chosen by a local taste leader.

How can I contribute to the jam?

The jam is created by community members like you! We welcome help from volunteers (both before and during the jam), who will help the jam run. We also welcome experienced service designers to guide design teams during their projects. 

Learn about volunteer needs.

Sign up to be a volunteer or mentor.

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