Book Now for Leeds Gov Jam 2019!

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Tickets are now on sale for Leeds Gov Jam 2019. 48 hours of design thinking in practice to tackle a challenge facing the public sector.

The challenge is revealed during the jam, then work in groups to define the problem, research, generate solution ideas, prototype and test a solution. We’ll be posting more in the coming weeks about how GovJam works so you’ll know what to expect.

Visit Eventbrite to book your ticket https://www.eventbrite.com/e/leeds-gov-jam-2019-tickets-66929037553

Save the Date!

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Leeds GovJam is now scheduled for 22nd & 23rd October 2019. Two full days of design thinking and doing focussed on building innovative approaches and solutions to challenges experienced in the public sector.

Govjam is open to everybody who is interested in public services, and who wants to add their own ideas and perspectives while enjoying themselves and learning more about how the world works. Both individuals and organisations can join – you do not need experience of government or the public sector. 

The volunteer team is working on plans, and we would welcome more volunteers. If you would like to join in the running of GovJam please follow this link to apply https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdULMGLAlBGABrJIbS_G1E8HUbUK33LsMmBHVWqKHir60jOfg/viewform

We are excited to be able to run GovJam at ODI Leeds ( https://odileeds.org/ ) again, and details about booking tickets will follow soon …

Leeds GovJam 2019 Coming Soon …

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Global GovJams will be taking place between 18th and 24th October 2019. The Leeds Crew are firming up dates … watch this space!

Leeds GovJam 2018

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We had such an amazing time at this year’s Leeds GovJam 2018! Well done and thank you to all our jammers who came together and spent 48 hours rocking the public sector.

Leeds GovJam 2018
Leeds GovJam 2018

All our teams went out there and did user research early in order to fail fast. We had jam and toast together. Teams bonded and people made new friends. We twin-jammed with first time Global Gov Jam Nottingham. We even danced the Double Diamond Dance to start the last day! #ThisIsWhyWeJam

Thanks also to our wonderful sponsors and supporters, ODI Leeds for the fab space, and spectacular mentors and facilitators who together make this possible. Read more about our volunteers and get in touch if you want to volunteer for the next jam.

You can read about our jammers’ experiences on their blog posts:

Services designed by our jammers: Catalogue gallery here

Photos of the jam: Flickr and Google Photos

Here’s also the theme from this year: video

Once again we would like to THANK YOU for making it possible and hope to see you again next year!

From Marie and the Leeds GovJam team 🙂

Book your place for Leeds GovJam 2018

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Yes. You can now book your place for Leeds GovJam.

Taking place 5-7 June at Leeds Open Data Institute, Leeds GovJam is part of the Global GovJam. It is all about applying the tools, techniques, and mindset of service design to the public sector. But, you don’t have to be a designer or work in the public sector to get involved. If you are curious about learning by doing and making things better for people, everyone is welcome.

In just 48 hours, your team will design and test solutions to public problems. You will gain experience of co-creating a prototype. Working at pace. Designing for real people. Collaborating as part of a team. Being agile. Being creative within constraints. Innovating and having serious fun.

We hope you will join us for a collaboration and innovation event like no other.

Here is what to expect:

  • Tuesday 5 June, 6pm to 8pm: everyone gathers to discover a global theme, which is kept secret until jams all over the world have seen it
  • Wednesday 6 June, 9am to 5pm: we split into teams and work together to design and prototype new services inspired by the theme
  • Thursday 7 June, 9am to 4pm: more testing and making up to 3pm when everyone shows what they’ve made and shares their work online with a Creative Commons License

What will you design with just 48 hours to rock the public sector?

48 hours to rock the public sector

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Written by Leeds Jammer Neil Owen

22 May 2017 08:46am

I was part of the Global GovJam for two days this week. Here is my experience. #GGovJam

GovJam is a small teams of people working for two days building solutions to problems faced by the public sector. They upload their results and publish them for the world. This year there, 21 countries in 33 locations were involved. Many of them, like me, were new to GovJam.

Why I did it? A few reasons.

I would feel uncomfortable. I was a Business Analyst early in my career. A role I enjoyed almost as much as when I delivered the internal mail using a shopping trolley at the leccy board. I was keen to experience how user engagement and the design of solutions had changed. GovJam would be an opportunity to learn by doing. Finally, it was on my doorstep in Leeds.

We met between 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday at the Open Data Institute in Leeds. I felt uncomfortable. I’ve come back with some great ice-breakers (sighs from the team). We all waited patiently for the same ‘secret theme’ that each of the 33 locations would tackle.

It was basically a noise!

We wrote down, yes on post its, what came to mind. We grouped them into themes. I forgot to mention we made stick people on arrival. We all put our stick people on a theme. Met our group. Went home. Baffled.

Using stick people to self-select themes

Throughout the next 2 days, the 8 or so volunteers suggested, coached and motivated each of us to try new ways of working, change our perspectives, experiment with new ideas, collaborate with new people – learn by doing. A big thank-you to those volunteers.

When we set about defining problems for our theme, it took ages. We eventually time-boxed, tossed a coin and voted on our key problems. What about some real people that might have this problem? We could draw some ‘personas’ help us narrow down who might have the problem? Didn’t help much at this stage. We eventually, confidently, because we debated for a while, went out to talk to real people about the crucial problems we were going to solve for them. We were last out of the building.

Have you ever been approached by some stranger in the street asking ‘Errr…excuse me, do you have a minute’. Think on Neil next time you get approached. I felt very uncomfortable. And so, our problems were not problems at all.

We learnt about some potential other problems through. Did it all again. We produced a lot of work on the next problem. I’d even got on the phone to Age UK and researched some of their publications on-line. Our prototype bombed when we tested on real people in the streets again. So our next problem, well that wasn’t a problem either. And that was the end of Day 1.

Day 2 started and apparently we’d done really well. Today was about asking everyone to break their prototypes and test their problems. And we’d already done that. Good work. I think you’re getting a sense of process.

We got ourselves a problem. A problem I’ve actually experienced when I reflected on it. We had a person to sort it for. We came up with a prototype. We went out again to those people that would have the problem. And keep going. Yep we were on to something this time.

Deadline for our pitch and ‘show’ not tell to the group was 3pm. It wasn’t perfect, that was sort of the whole point. You can check it out here, along with the all the other prototypes: http://www.govjam.org/jamsite/23514/projects

Just 2 days before, 35 odd individuals (many more around the world) had a sound played to them. Now 7 teams all ‘showed’ 7 prototypes that had been tested multiple times with people on the streets of Leeds. It was fantastic to see how far people had come in just 2 days.

So what did I learn. That it wasn’t about the prototypes, the problem, who was the best – none of the ideas may ever go any further, I went into this thinking they would! And that was the point. The event was about working differently and letting go a little. In trying, we all saw the value that this can bring.

In the right environment, people are creative, innovative, driven, deliver and have fun along the way.  As someone said, they worked liked they ‘didn’t have to think about it’. And wouldn’t that be nice.

And finally, speaking of driven teams. Thank-you to our teams this week. A professional and speedy response to put in place additional security measures as we reflected on the international cyber security attacks. Many working throughout this weekend. Well done and thank-you.

Leeds #GGovJam 2017 – thank you

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Thank you, thank you, thank you

Leeds GovJam 2017 was a resounding success, so here’s to all the Jammers who showed up, got stuck in, and, 48-hours later, showed their thing! You rocked the public sector 

Team Leeds GovJam 2017
Team Leeds GovJam 2017

Thanks also to our awesome sponsors and supporters, our ever-faithful venue, ODI Leeds, and our fab mentors and facilitators who together enable this to happen. Read more about our volunteers and get in touch if you want to volunteer for the next jam.


We live tweeted at pace and Periscope’d all seven – yes, SEVEN – of the final Show Not Tell sessions as teams revealed their prototypes to the world. So, recap on our Twitter feed if you missed out.

You can also recap on this year’s secret theme…

The projects that we co-created…

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 18.52.09And, how other Jammers got on around the world, including those at this year’s HQ down under in Melbourne, over on the Global GovJam website and via 


We’ve already had a few reviews and blogs jam hot out of the blocks (see below). And, we expect more to add to this list soon if the Leeds GovJam 2017 Pledge Wall is anything to go by.  So, please do let us know if you have produced anything or seen anything and we will update this post as we receive news of more.

And, relax

BIG THANKS again to you all. We hope to see you next time around!

Regards and respect from Lisa and the 2017 volunteer team 🙂