Global Innovation Jam to Design a Brand New Service

Published Jun-13-11

Worldwide internet challenge that involved business people, students, academics, designers, and customers to develop and prototype completely new services.

Work Play Experience, Germany

The Story:

Global Innovation Jam to Design a Brand New Service On Friday 11th March 2011 at more than fifty locations around the world, hundreds of participants interested in services and customer experience took part in 48 hours of ‘innovation jamming’. The brief of the Global Service Jam was to come up with a new service design inspired by the keyword ‘superheroes’.

During the short time frame ‘jammers’ had to research, ideate and prototype their new service. Social media tools allowed participants to connect with each other to see who was working on what and to share ideas. On the final day teams uploaded their ideas under a Creative Commons license which although it meant they retained ownership of their ideas, everybody else could see how they were formed.

There were numerous benefits to participation which were heralded upfront to attract people to register for the jam, and they included:

• The opportunity to pick up lots of ideas
• The possibility of generating an idea that might just become a viable
business opportunity
• Creating ideas that may be seen by potential future employers or customers

Global Brainstorm

The global brainstorm was organized by a German service design consultancy ‘Work Play Experience’ who were not only interested in the ideas but also how teams worked to put them together.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on people taking part - we’re as interested in how they are working as we are in the product,” said Adam Lawrence of Work Play Experience to one interviewer.

"It’s looking at how close reality is to theory, and increasing the library of prototyping and working methods. We’re looking at how hundreds of teams approach the same problem in the same time-frame.”

The inspiration and insights from the crowd led to the creation of 203 new service designs. These included:

Discover Your Inner Hero – this service aims to help children who do not know how they fit into the world, and senior citizens who are under-utilized by society. Through this service seniors can volunteer as mentors and ‘share their superpower of storytelling’ to guide and inspire younger generations.

Super Neighbour – a series of downloadable tools to help people meet their neighbours and find ways to help each other.

Mamma Mia – an informational service for pregnant women with coping and preparation tips, mental support, beauty advice, suggestions for outdoor activities and ways to meet other pregnant women in the area. The idea is that women would be told of the service by their doctor which can be accessed via a website or hotline phone number.

Jams to Boost Businesses

Using the crowd to provide flashes of inspiration and solutions is what open innovation and innovation jams are all about.

Although the duration of innovation jams tends to be short, they do attract mass participation. To ensure that they are of value, companies and organizations that want to launch their own jams should consider:

• Embarking on a marketing campaign beforehand to attract participants and
to get them excited about what is going to take place
• Using facilitators and/or experts in the subject matter to keep discussions
going and to steer them in appropriate directions if the need arises

For businesses, the jams can provide a cost-effective means of generating new product ideas, services and opportunities as well as creating good will with customers and forming stronger bonds with them.


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