A few years ago I accidentally stumbled upon a 100-word description of Service Design. That led to a one-week course taught by Vincenzo di Maria at Central Saint Martins, which inspired me to participate in my first Global Service Jam.

During my first Jam, I met new people with diverse backgrounds, yet similar passions and curiosities. I deepened my early design thinking skillset, and was astonished to go from a very (VERY!) brief ‘brief’ (a.k.a. the Secret Theme) to a well-construed business concept for social impact – all while collaborating with a group of people who were mere strangers just 48 hours earlier.

Fast forward to 2018: I had participated in a number of Jams, both as a participant and a mentor. I was in a new city surrounded by people interested in service design, yet who had not experienced a Jam. Personally, I considered the Jam to be a pivotal experience, so I decided to host the next Jam.

I was introduced to Fabrizio Pierandrei, Founder of PACO Design Collaborative and host of JaminMilan since the Global Service Jam’s inception in 2011. (Grazie Beatrice Villari per averci messo in contatto!)

Through Fabrizio I met a wonderful group of people: Silvia Remotti and Lucrezia Fratto from PACO, as well as Giulia Di Gregorio, Andres Calvachi, Chiara Leonardi, Daniela Chuecos, Francesca Carella, Giselle Chajin, Luca Gaverina and Michele Armellini.

To my surprise, I quickly learned to apply the Jam rules to the Host experience; namely, to throw out preconceptions and learn together. By this time I’d established an idea of the key ingredients for a great Jam. Finding myself in a new country, it was important to stray from ‘my recipe’ and build the Jam together with these experienced Service Designers.

The Jam participants comprised 50% designers and 50% non-designers. It was great to watch non-designers struggle to put an idea into action and create a prototype before their concept was developed. That’s not to say that their struggle was enjoyable. Rather, I’ve lived the experience and understand the ‘wow moment’ that follows the realization that the idea develops exponentially by accelerating it to the prototype stage early on.

I also heard from designers – classmates in the Poli.Design Service Design Master who are adept with the process – that it was amazing to collaborate with new people for a short but intense period. It fuels creativity, they said.

The secret theme was elusive, as always. Who could have anticipated that three simple words, “Yes, no, maybe,” would unleash concepts and prototypes around corporate team-building, career matching, community well-being, and community outreach.

To cite the final Jam rule, “Have fun!” I definitely had a lot of fun co-hosting JaminMilan, and I look forward to the next collaboration!


Author: Jennifer Wieskopf