Apart from architecture, we also enjoy being part of different projects related to collaboration, creativity and sustainability. We love the opportunity to meet new and interesting people with whom to collaborate in the future - they don’t even have to be from the same field, that’s where interesting ideas come from.
In one of our brainstorming sessions, one of our members proposed to take part in the next Global Service Jam, describing that experience as an ideal opportunity to make new connections; but when we tried to subscribe we found that to our surprise not only was there no Bristol entry for this year, but there had never been a Jam in the city before! Rather than being a problem for us, we took it as a challenge!
From the 7th to the 9th of March 2014 we hosted the first ever Global Service Jam in Bristol. But what is a Jam?
The Global Service Jam is a worldwide event that takes place in more than 100 different cities during the same weekend every year. A GSJ is 48 crazy hours to change the world, where participants gather in teams to ideate, prototype and test a new service. This service is inspired by a common theme, carefully chosen by representatives of the worldwide organising team. The theme is secret until the start of the Jam. This makes the event improvised and unexpected, based on the concept of an ‘Unconference’.
The weekend is concluded by uploading video montages of everyone’s experiences for others to share, and presentations by each group.
Bristol was a great city for such an event, so we embarked on a big marketing and advertisement drive. Looking for sponsors and supporters, finding the best venue, and challenging creative people to join us as participants for the whole weekend was a wonderful adventure for us.
And actually, the effort was worthwhile:
About 30 attendees came along on the weekend, some of them local but quite a lot of people came from further places, including Bath, Oxford, near Liverpool and even Barcelona!
Everybody was exited about the GSJ, even Mayor George Ferguson, who came along and contributed to the event. George told the Jammers that Bristol is a ‘laboratory for change’ - and it really is. Representatives from some local initiatives, the Bristol Pound, Happy City and People’s Republic of Stokes Croft also gave as some inspiring thoughts at a Pecha Kucha event during our breaks.
We had wonderful partners who helped us build the event. Silas Adekunle from Reach Robotics gave us an amazing demonstration of robots and prototypes, we had an exuberant drumming session to end the Saturday, and some great mentors who supported us (Richard Arnott of Service Junkie and Matt Spry). Hamilton House were fantastic hosts, and we owe a huge thank you to WebStart Bristol, who sponsored the event.
People who came to the Jam really enjoyed the experience, promising they would come back again next year. However, the most interesting feedback was from people that weren’t at the JAM; saying they wished they had gone and they wouldn’t miss it next time!