govjam

What is GovJam Anyway?

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GovJam started in 2012 as a pilot in Australia.  It is a global, 48 hour event in which you can apply and learn about a range of techniques from the theory called ‘Design Thinking’ (more on these techniques to come in future blogs!).  If you are keen to get the details on GovJam visit http://www.govjam.org/content/about .

The idea is that you spend 2 days (don’t worry, we let you go home at night!) with a diverse group of people from a range of different workplaces and experiences.  Some of these people will be from the public sector, some won’t – the important thing is that we work in small teams to come up with new ideas for solutions to problems that the public sector is trying to tackle.

There is a fairly standard format across the 2 days based on a design process, but it’s up to your group to manage your own work.  This diagram gives you an idea of what to expect.

During the 2 days you will also have brief presentations from experts about techniques you could use at each stage, and you will be supported by some of our volunteers who will be there in a mentoring capacity.  You’ll need to work as a team and we’ll ask you share with everyone what you are working on, and to help each other out.  There might also be a ‘twinjam’ – that means we join up with a jam somewhere else in the world to share what we are working on and to offer support.

Sounds like hard work?  Well, it is, and it’s rapid.  It’s also rewarding, a great way to learn and try out new techniques in a safe space and it is FUN.

Piqued your interest? Book your ticket here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/leeds-gov-jam-2019-tickets-66929037553

Look out for our next blog which will explain more about what happens at GovJam!

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This is why we Twin Jam

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Leeds Town Hall / Parthenon

An awesome part of GovJam is the feeling of being involved in a global event. That unifying sense of shared purpose as teams all over the world collaborate against the clock to innovate around a global theme. A good way to keep in touch with everyone during the Jam is to follow the hashtag, #GGovJam. Another way is to hook up with a jam that’s happening somewhere else. This is when ‘Twin Jams’ are useful.

The idea of Twin Jams was developed by GovJam HQ to allow two jams to connect before, during and after the Jam. This gives teams a partner with whom they can share progress and mutual support. You might want to ask your Twin Jam about how they promote the Jam in their part of the world. You may want to ask questions about your ideas. And, you will most likely want to share more detailed feedback on prototypes than is possible in a 140-character tweet. This is important because jamming is not just about arriving at the destination – delivering working prototypes. It’s also about the journey we all take over the two days, developing networks, learning to do stuff better, together.

Hooking up with a Twin Jam can be done via webcam, a Skype session, Hangout or similar. It is often helpful to schedule some time when everyone in your team can gather around the webcam. During last year’s Jam we used Skype to connect with teams in Whangarei, Rotterdam, Milan, Ottawa, Manchester and Tokyo. This was a lot of fun and felt quite Eurovision-esque: ‘Hello, Tokyo, can we have your votes, please?’ Here, the general idea is to ‘show and tell’, to share progress and feedback. Connecting with lots of different jams was great but it took a bit of organising to coordinate calls across all the different time zones. So this year we are excited about having one main partner, our Twin Jam, to share our journey in more detail…

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We are now pleased to announce that Athens GovJam (@AthensGovJam) is our Twin Jam for 2015 and we’re looking forward to many happy connections!

Follow the fun via #GGovJam (plus, #LeedsGovJam for Leeds updates and #AthGovJam for Athens).

Also, if you want to join us in Leeds, there are still some tickets remaining at Eventbrite. 

— Lisa Jeffery

Announcing our venue, and our first supporter

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For the second year running, Leeds GovJam will be at the wonderful ODI-Leeds.

You can get a feel for the space by looking through Lisa’s photos from last year’s Leeds GovJam.

ODI-Leeds is a light and open collaboration space on the top floor of Munro House…

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There’s loads of room for up to 50 jammers to work in project teams…

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And it’s right opposite the bus station and market, making it really easy to take your prototypes out onto the street…

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We’re also delighted to announce that Leeds GovJam 2015 will be supported by UKGovcamp Grants.

UK Govcamp web page

UKGovcamp is the free, annual ‘unconference’ for people interested in how the public sector does digital stuff. The organisers put some of their left-over sponsorship money into a grants pot each year, and use it to help other similar events get off the ground.

We’re doubly fortunate because UKGovcamp has also supported our sister event, Leeds Service Jam. Thanks!

Could your organisation help to make Leeds GovJam 2015 even better?

Leeds GovJam is run by volunteers, and nobody makes a profit from it. Sponsors and supporters help us keep costs down, open up new possibilities, and provide extra treats and prizes to jam participants.

In return your organisation gets to show its support for public sector innovation in a high-profile and practical way.

To find out more, contact Matt Edgar – matt@mattedgar.com – 07964 763252

How was it for you? Jammers write up their GovJam experiences

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We’ve had a couple of lovely write-ups from last week’s Govjam.

Jammer Rebecca Williams and Team Member Lisa Jefferies (who also took many great photos of the Jam) wrote about it on the Tunstall blog.

So what did we learn? Well, first up, we learned about the importance of playfulness in eliminating fear in teams. We were inspired to try new approaches, to work in new ways and to ‘fail fast’. Ideas blossomed and became real through prototyping. And teams were actively encouraged to take their prototypes outside of the building, to test their ideas (and assumptions) on others, and to invite challenge from ‘customers’. Crucially, the time constraint of the two-day event meant that teams had to keep moving and iterating their concepts at pace in order to improve them. Any organisation can learn from such an approach to service design.

Leeds City Council Service Improvement Officer Andi Elliott made his notes as a document which he’s kindly allowed us to reproduce below. We particularly like his take-outs from the event too:

What value was gained from the day?

The event ‘blurb’ suggests ‘Govjam is a practical way to find out about service design and how it can make a difference to where we work. What we actually learnt from taking part in this event was:

* Ideas, improvements, concept development and communication on a local or global basis can be achieved in very short time frames and with simple tools.

* That by imposing shorter time frames, project decision making be- comes simpler and more direct with less need for meetings.

* Available resources can be adapted rather than always using new ones.

* Any colleague at whatever level can do this.

synopsis

 And GovJam team member Si Wilson blogged about his experience of the jam:

I was chuffed to bits the event went so well, as did the rest of the team running the event. What’ll be interesting for me will be what the attendees do next, and hopefully those guys will report back at some point in the not-too-distant-future about how some of the GovJam spirit has helped them within their services!

Thanks to Lisa, Rebecca, Andi and Si for their write-ups. If you’ve written about Leeds GovJam, please let us know!

Well, that was fun!

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The first ever Leeds GovJam is over. We’ll say a proper thank you to everyone who made it happen over the coming days. For now just look at the amazing services our 6 teams of jammers prototyped – all in less than 48 hours of learning by doing…

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Our Planet Jam site

We’re jamming in Leeds!

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Six teams are working on new public service ideas inspired by our secret theme.

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See the work in progress in Lisa’s lovely photo set on Flickr...

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Three weeks to go: where will you jam?

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owljam 3 weeks to go

Three weeks from today we’ll gather at the ODI-Node in Leeds to find out the secret theme for the Global GovJam 2014.

People from Leeds City Council, the NHS, the Department of Work and Pensions and MySociety will join freelancers, academics and others – all with an interest in making government services better with the power of people-centred service design.

It’s a great chance to challenge yourself, learn new skills, meet new collaborators, encounter ideas you would never have had if you were alone, and have a great time. We’ll be doing, not talking – building prototypes to make ideas as physical as possible so we can experience, communicate and test them.

And we won’t be alone. Ours will be one of around 20 jams round the world, all working in their local groups to prototype services on the same shared theme. You could take part in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Taiwan, the USA, and in the UK in Manchester or Exeter too. But obviously we hope you’ll join us in Leeds.

Want to know more?

Eventbrite - Leeds GovJam