Jammers come from all walks of life bringing their knowledges, skills and presonalities together to create amazing things. Khyati shares her story of how she came to get involved with the Jam and what the experience was like. 

Back in February, I took the plunge and somewhat nervously decided to participate in the Global Service Jam – a first not only for myself, but also for my home city of Birmingham. Held 3 times a year, individuals from around the globe had gathered to meet, greet and tackle a 48-hour design challenge from start to finish. With the service jam rooted in human-centred approach to design, the jam encourages ordinary people to bring together their personalities, creative ideas and diverse range of skills to produce innovative, exciting solutions to real life needs.

Equipped with little more than what you could call a ‘traditional’ background that reads humanities degree, sales role and more recently, copywriter, I’d be lying if I say I hadn’t had my reservations as to what I was signing up for and how far I’d be in over my head with design jargon – let alone prototyping materials. By the time the weekend approached I found myself riddled with a tinge of fear, excitement and for some unknown reason, determination that I had to try my hand at something completely out of my comfort zone. Looking back, this gut instinct was down to my having had the pleasure of meeting Chris and Daniel. Both MA students in Digital Media Management at Hyper Island – both the loveliest of Brummies – they couldn’t have been more passionate about bringing the Jam to Birmingham, nor could they have invested more effort in setting up what was to be a brilliantly enjoyable, fun and informative weekend. Not only did they reassure me every step of the way that there was no textbook or specialist knowledge required to participate and come up with ideas, I soon got to realise first hand that they were absolutely right.

Over two and a half days I felt lucky to take part in a challenge that saw a heady combination of energy, laughter, learning and some incredible ideas collide – a challenge that saw myself, the pen & paper worshipper and all-round ‘late’ adopter in my absolute element I should add. I cannot overstate the way in which Chris and Daniel got us all out of our comfort zones, managing to accelerate trust, camaraderie and uninhibited sharing within teams of individuals who had never even met before. Through a series of practical and methodical activities, a mutually constructed set of aims and goals as well as an ethos of ‘do more, talk less’ we gained a solid introduction to the world of prototyping and iteration, but above all an appreciation of how simple it can be to take to the streets, locate issues and really start to think about how to affect positive change.

With over 20 individuals present, the beauty of the group at large lay in its diversity, with both seasoned hacks and ‘jam-virgins’ in our midst. Both camps had their serious advantages, and with consistent encouragement from both Chris and Daniel, we managed to bring both experience and fresh, unrefined thought to the process. Not only did I leave the Global Service Jam bubbling with ideas, a fresh outlook and some wonderful new friends, my team and I were graced with the Spaghetti Jams trophy. For someone with no prior exposure to hack culture, design or tech-speak, I gained a great deal of confidence, the desire to learn more and couldn’t recommend the experience enough to all.

To get involved in the next jam, the Global Service Jam, sign up on our eventbrite page