Jamming Across the Globe: 48 hours to save the world!

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A personal view by Salma Azfal

Have you ever found that some people approach a challenge or a problem differently? Do you wish you could tackle a problem with a range of approaches and generate lots of ideas?

Leeds Gov Jam is an amazing opportunity to experience working differently and learn new behaviours and techniques that you can use in your work and life. You won’t be alone, there are 100 plus cities all over the world trying to solve the same problem and makepublic services better. You could be one of these amazing people.

Jamming with friends

Taking part in a Jam as a participant has been an amazing experience and it gave me the confidence to write my first blog and share my experience. You can read about it –I learned ALOT in my first jam

It’s an opportunity to work outside your comfort zone with strangers who can go on to become lifelong friends, confidante or even mentors. You are given a blank canvas and with an open mind and some blue sky thinking, you can create something brilliant and magical to share with the world, either alone or as part of a self-organised team.

Pledge wall

So if you’re highly curious take the opportunity of two days of intense learning of fun, innovation, creativity – a JAM-TASTIC experience!

My takeaways from the Leeds Gov Jam experience 

#Fun – It’s a fun, high energy event, enjoy the experience and join in, you may get to experience the double diamond dance. And get to know the people who you are working with.

#Empathy – Talk to the users of your service. Walk in their shoes, understand the things that matter to them and why.

#Learnbydoing – It’s a hands on practical way of learning, asking questions, by making things, using different materials, pulling them apart and putting them together again following feedback from real people. Always ask how can I/we make this even better for you.

#Experiment – This doesn’t mean using a Bunsen burner and chemicals in a Lab. But trying different methods, if things don’t work out, don’t cry, learn from it and start again

#Prototype – Make lots of them, challenge each other on who can make the most different prototypes. Use different materials to see which one is the most user friendly, low cost and efficient. Make things, pull things apart, put them back together again , test them and break them again and learn from failure.

#Fail fast – Its ok to get it wrong at the beginning, learn from it, move on quickly and iterate based on evidence based feedback.

#Be Bold – It’s a safe environment, to take risks, learn from failures and how you can add value.

#Show not Tell – Don’t talk about your product/service or show us a PowerPoint demo- show what your services looks and feels like. Paper sketches, models, videos, photos, whatever you feel comfortable with, anything is within limits of a Jam.

#Design thinking tools – Ideation, personas, prototyping, user research, customer journey mapping, service blue print and double diamond. I had the opportunity to try out these tools and more.

#Global Jam community – the global jam community spans across over 100 cities across the world and growing! It’s an amazing network to be part of!

I love to Jam as the jam ethos is #doingnottalking. It’s a hands on practical way of how I can be more human focused in my work by applying design thinking tools and techniques, continuously improving and refreshing my skills to work in new ways.

Some participants from Leeds GovJam 2018

By jamming, I feel part of a global Jam community, always collaborating, sharing ideas, innovating and learning from each other in a creative way. It doesn’t matter what job you do, or what your background is, I’d encourage everyone to Jam. You get to work on community issues, meet loads of lovely people, play with Lego and have lots of fun why wouldn’t you want to be part of a global experience…

By working in the open, through jamming I’ve enhanced my existing skills and developed new skills that I am able to use in my policy role to work in a more engaging, connected and open way. I’ve not yet saved the world, It’s been difficult and challenging to convince others to embrace this way of working. There’s still hope as I’ve not yet given up!  

Map of worldwide Jams

Through jamming I’ve met so many wonderful and talented jammers from different walks of like that I’m still in contact with. I can’t imagine not ever being part of this community… This year I’m part of the Leeds Gov Jam organising team and look forward to welcoming and supporting jammers on the day and  beyond – in FUTURE jams.


Anyone can take part in a Jam. Are you up for the challenge to improve public sector services across the world on a global scale? Either book your ticket or gift it to a friend. Come and join us please – we wait to welcome you.


Link to tickets for Leeds Gov Jam tickets

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