Global Service Jam Scotland

I am very excited to say that Global Service Jam is officially alive and kicking. It's happening and it's coming to a city near you!!!!! When we say 'jam' we mean:  "Jamming": Developing new ideas through cooperation, improvisation and creativity. Location: Planet Earth. Rocking the world of service design and customer experience.

This is kind of a big deal! Sarah put up a little site for organising the Global Service Jam event in Scotland on the 11th to the 13th March 2011. Make sure you sign up and get involved!


So how does it all work?

"On 11, 12 & 13 March, 2011, people interested in service and customer experience will meet all over the globe. In a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams will have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme.

The Friday evening (local times) will see service designers, customer experience folks, students, professors, businesspeople, anthropologists, customers, hackers and actors converge on jam locations all over the world. After meeting up and warming up, they will be given a set of common themes for a brand new service. Based on brainstormed ideas, teams will form. Then it's time to get practical.

The teams will have less than 48 hours to research, ideate, prototype (and iterate) their service using whatever methods they want to explore. A social media thread will make sure that all teams - worldwide - will know what is going on, and who is working on what. Groups will learn together, experiment, and bounce ideas and techniques around the planet.

On Sunday afternoon, each team will upload their ideas in a digital, disseminable form, under a Creative Commons license. (The idea remains yours, but the world will see how you made it).

Sound like fun?

Perhaps you want to run a local jam? Or perhaps you want to find other people local to you who might be interested? Maybe you just want to enjoy the buzz?

Get on list at and keep in the loop by following @GSJam,,,"

Round of applause for Adam and Markus who have made the Global Service Jam a reality. The two chaps really are one of a kind -  thanks to them I now carry a rubber chicken in my bag every day ... watch them in action at the Service Design Network conference below.

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Grassroots Govan

The word 'community' is everywhere ; but I never truly sensed the meaning of the word until now. On Wednesday evening ( the day the Spending Review was announced ) Sarah and I attended an event in Govan;  a district  in the southwestern part of the  Glasgow - 2.5 miles west of Glasgow City Centre, on the south bank of the River Clyde.

The main speakers were Alastair McIntosh (author of 'Soil and Soul' and fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology) and Dr. Carol Craig (author of 'the Tears that made the Clyde', and Director of the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing). The title of the event was 'Celebrating the spirit in post-industrial communities' and there was music and song from Tam McGarvey and Tartan Heather.

I sat next to Penny, a local metal smith as I listened to people of all ages and backgrounds discuss the rift between humans at a very deep level and the real root causes of social upheaval.  The event came about because the Centre of Human Ecology has moved from Strathclyde University to the Pearce Institute building ; academia has embedded itself into a hard pressed community.

The audience were advised to begin a dialogue about seeking the truth about where we are and how we can fix the 'brokenness' ; the speakers requested honest, heart felt conversation.

Tam McGarvey taught me about Lady Pearce; the first person to get women into Glasgow University. Tom is from a brilliant initiative known as the Galgale trust

"People come to us with terrible social problems so we can teach them - it ends up with them teaching us about resilience, resourcefulness and spirit"

"Let's make our own version of big society. We need to take responsibility for ourselves. Take control of situation , respect each other - we can do all this by being creative"

'Freedom' was mentioned throughout this evening ( nothing to do with Mel Gibson ! ) Alistair probed the audience to think about what 'freedom' means today, what 'freedom' means to the people in the room living on benefits for £48 a week, where their window to nature is their TV.

The most ancient texts ever written about Scotland are about freedom and bravery of being a human being. So what is happening in Glasgow? Why does Glasgow have such a high rate of violence and a lower life expectancy than some third world countries?

Let's stand together. Punch above our weight. Don't just stand back and let stuff happen to you. We may not have money but we have got each other...

Scottish service for gang members

I watched The War Against Street Weapons this week:

"Last year, as chair of Channel 4's Street Weapons Commission, Cherie Booth QC said that the use of guns and knives among young people had become so widespread that she feared for the safety of her own children. Since then, the police and government have taken steps to deal with the problem. But are they doing enough?

To answer that question, Cherie joins police patrols on Britain's toughest streets, talks to young offenders behind bars, and visits a pioneering scheme combating Glasgow's violent gang culture.

The Street Weapons Commission Report - published in 2008 - set out a series of practical recommendations about what could be done to tackle the problem of street weapons in the UK. But one year on, the problem hasn't gone away and Cherie feels passionately that more must be done."

Sometimes I forget that Cherie Booth is not just the former Prime Minister's wife, but also a hugely successful barrister in her own right! Read these related press articles to find out more about some of the violent crime cases referred to in Dispatches.

It was this service offered by the Violence Reduction Unit that interested me the most - this card is handed to gang members the service targets either following a visit to their home or a 'self referral' sessions.

Picture 9

Picture 10

The program is based on this article from the New Yorker and you can learn more here:

From where I am standing this looks like a fantastic initiative. . Of course, design thinking alone will fail to tackle crime but I believe design has a crucial role to play in this. How would the dynamics of this service change if a service designer were to spend a day with the young people it has rescued from gang life?

Thank you to Caroline Foulkes, Communications Manager at the Violence Reduction Unit for all her help in finding this information.

Digital Britian: Scotland's reaction

Since the Lord Charter's Digital Britain report was released in January there has been lots of mixed opinions, recommendations and criticism flying around. Charles Leadbeater's response "The Digital Revolution: the Coming Crisis of the Creative Class" is definitely worth reading. 3450043118_1d05fd86be

On Friday night, 23 people met up in Glasgow to attend "Digital Britain Scottish Unconference". I went along as I am very interested in how digital can transform the design and delivery of services in Scotland. The group, made up of mostly creatives, agreed early on in the evening that the report is narrowly focused and misses the point - clearly it is a government intervention that is uninformed.


What is practical and needed in Scotland? We cannot predict technology - the report tries to do this. The policy is being determined by people who don't understand digital media.

We discussed the differences between the UK context and the Scottish context.  There are two things that hamper the quality of life in Scotland - public communications and distance. Firstly, we need infrastructure - re-distribution of enterprises and creation of new industries and new employment. Secondly, we need better healthcare - education in remote areas. Why do young Scots feel they have to move to go to college? Why do I feel isolated from my network because I am not in London? What should we be encouraging?

I wonder if the civil servants involved in compiling the report use the internet in the way we do? Recently, Kate Andrews and I explored the power of online social networking, and demonstrated the tools students use to move ideas forward, form networks with practitioners around the world, and build a reputation before and after graduation :  The Studio Unbound. This is interesting as the topic of graduates and skill sets cropped up in the discussion several times.

It is not about money it is about providing a service. We need to know exactly what people want from the internet! We do not need to re-invent the wheel, we need to develop existing services for a digital age. I liked the phrase Kate used whilst talking about the challenges we face - "digital is difficult to touch".

Sarah and Andy have shared their views on the event. It was an interesting discussion and I met interesting people. At times, the conversation focused a little too much on creatives talking about social media but I am very excited to have met like minded individuals who are passionate about using digital to better Scotland.

Systems thinking in Scotland

A Masterclass with Professor John Seddon, the author of Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, is happening in Glasgow on the 12th of May.2074420227_7af4fff5a2_b

Beyond Targets - Improving Efficiency, Morale and Staff Well-being in the Public Sector is an important event on how Scotland’s public services should be run for heightened efficiency and staff morale.

Photo by woody