Andre is founder of Kiondo, a community led design practice designing and developing the platforms, toolkits and technologies to support local making and innovation. Andre first connected with Spaghetti Jams when he laser cut the legendary Jam trophy for our first jam back in 2015. Ever since then he’s been involved with Spaghetti Jams in some form and will be back as part of the facilitation team at this years Service Jam. Here’s Andre checking in for 2019.

I first came across the jams and the culture back in 2015 when we hosted a student led design jam at our studio. This one was run by a couple of recent graduates from my former university who had been inspired by their experience at the very first Spaghetti Jams Service Jam.

Andre & Lisa cutting the Spaghetti Jams Trophy in 2015

I personally didn’t really get involved much in jam culture for a while until participated in the 2016 Sustainability Jam where I got involved as a design coach. I really liked the experience and being able to boost people’s energy towards new ideas and open up their thought patterns in the design experience. This was a rewarding experience for me.

Following this however, for a while, I felt like jams were not for me because I am the type of person who avoids getting wrapped up into any kind of niche culture. From the outside, to me, it looked like a load of geeks that have a particular perspective of how human behaviour works and using tools that are made by more geeks!

When you look a bit deeper they actually require a lot of open ended thinking and I felt like, they needed to lead to an output so I didn’t quite understand what they were doing for people. I kinda stayed out of it until the time when my partner and I started working on opening a Pop up Shop for upcoming Makers and Designers in Birmingham city centre.

PopIn UK Store in Birmingham 2017

In 2017, My partner Lisa opened PoPIn UK which creates Portable PopUp environments and PopUp experiences aiming to promote a more positive consumer culture. Through this project, we rediscovered the value of co-design, by creating a loose, drop-in approach to the way we designed the shop we were able to connect more authentically with new makers and designer in the city and make space for them. We experienced much more this idea of what it means to design when everyone can design. I started to see how the similarities between these co-design practices and the ways people were doing stuff in the Jam community.

Shortly after this, we had a child and during this early months of becoming a father I began to think about and startup my current design practice Kiondo. Through this, I continue to build my understanding the importance of designing ‘with’ not ‘for’ people. I started to think about how KIONDO might be able reframe the point of interaction with a [design] service. Instead of being a person people come to and say ‘could you make this? or ‘could you help us make this?’ it would be more about helping them look at ‘Why ‘they want to make it and then deciding ‘what’ should actually be made on this basis. Helping people to hold more alternative possibilities for a bit longer in order to build something new.

Andre facilitating a CanWe session through his Design Practice ‘Kiondo’

The Jams have inspired me to shape a new structure for co-design into my practice and I have been recently experimenting with this through various public workshops and also with new client relationships. Essentially this has been all about bringing people together to explore their own relationship with design and making and creating new opportunities together. The past few years have been an interesting journey for me and there are many parts that I getting involved with the jams have softly influenced. Hope to see you at the next Service Jam on 29th March.

The Jam will always be the best event in the world for people who want to try out a design-based approach to problem solving and creativity. Join us for the next one 29-31 March in Birmingham.