My experience with Global Service Jam

Welcome banner ©SDBerlin


Global Service Jam is a worldwide 48 hours event where designers and non-designers develop and prototype new services, products or initiatives.

The event takes place simultaneously in 100 cities around the world and the participants are asked to produce a project based upon the theme announced at the beginning of the event.

Participants in this edition were divided into a group of max 6 people with a coach to moderate the journey. These are people from all backgrounds, as knowledge of design was not mandatory but the purpose was to make something innovative and unconventional.

Because of COVID 19, the location was Volkspark Haseneide in the heart of Berlin and also, each group had an indoor space where they developed their prototype.

Jam participants in Haseneide Park ©SDBerlin

But what is exactly service design?

Our society comprises of goods and services where goods are something that you can touch e.g- car or bike, and services that you can not touch like consulting or a medical examination.

Goods and services, in our technological age, are not recognisable, because our product becomes completely digital and sometimes the transfer between goods and services is interrupted due to a problematic internal organisational shortage. A good example could be the maps from paper are now completely digital.

In real life, service design is about connecting the multiple services between your user and the thing they want to do.

The principles of service design are not to design every single part of the service, but rather the overall experience and this is possible through the reconstruction of the path that the user takes when using the service.


The Jam session was divided into three days:

Day 1:

The first day was about meeting other jammers, creating teamwork and declaration of the secret global theme. The secret theme was, in reality, an abstract illustration that reminded me of the concept of the Rorschach test. This test consists of looking at a colour stain and based on what the participant sees it’s possible to analyze his/her/their behaviour.

Secret theme 2020 ©Global Service Jam

My team chose the name “Jam Jar” and we had completely different opinions and feelings about the secret theme. After a long brainstorming session, our team came up with 3 words that could describe the picture: reflection, realignment and directions.

The 3 keywords 2020 ©SDBerlin

Day 2 :

Double Diamond

The second day was devoted to defining the problem. We did this with the help of different tools and, above all, starting from the double diamond concept.


Double diamond is a system invented in 2005 that helps and supports designers during the creative process: the first step consists of exploring the area of the problem, looking into it and analysing it from all different perspectives.

During the definition of the problem, the main questions to ask were Who? Where? and When?

To get to the answers to these questions, our coach suggested that we prepare an open-ended questionnaire to get as much information as possible on how the job situation is changing during covid19.

And to do this, we were divided into a small group of two people and in only 1 hour we had to collect as much as possible feedback from our potential users on the street. To my surprise, I discovered that people were really happy to share their experiences and ideas about specific topics.

The second side of the first diamond is defined, i.e. deciding what is the problem to solve. The questions to answer were: “why”? and for what? We used the Affinity Diagram to evaluate the qualitative data collected during our interviews.

In an empty whiteboard and thanks to the help of adhesive notes we collected significant data and divided it into categories to have a clear overview of the possible problems to solve and thus start the design of a prototype.

Affinity Diagram ©SDBerlin

From our research was born Megan, our proto-person who helped us to identify the problem statement of our project. Megan is a frustrated worker because she likes her work but she is not feeling useful to society. She would like to do a job where she doesn’t feel like a number within the company, but her work is really useful to someone.

Starting from this problem statement we started to design our prototype with paper, pencils, balloons, etc..

Around 5 pm our team moved to Haseneide Park for an “Idea Bazaar” with the other groups participating in the global jam, we tested our product with the other jammers and received feedback and suggestions to make it better.

User test during the Idea Bazaar ©SDBerlin

Day 3:

The feedback we gathered put some issues before our eyes and we realized that our project was very large. We had found many ways to solve Megan’s problem and so we decided to focus on just a few of them.

The Jam Jar team works on the prototype ©SDBerlin

Problem, solution and presentation

And we developed the idea of “Side Purpose”, a system that allows users to get in direct contact with NGOs and take part in a volunteer program based on their skills.

Users can choose to schedule the volunteer program hours through the system after a discussion with the human resource manager.

In the system, the user can also enter their skills, the type of NGO to work on and the location. With these three parameters, the user can select the most interesting project for him/her, make a video call with the NGO to make arrangements directly and establish direct contact.

So we decided to meet Megan’s need to reconcile her work with a humanitarian project, where she can apply her knowledge and have the confidence to be useful to people who need it, outside of any business concept.

Through direct contact with NGOs, Megan has the feeling that her personality is fundamental to that kind of activity.

Jam Jar team and the coach Jens Otto Lange

I’d like to thank all the organizers for managing to adapt to the new Covid 19 regulations Camila Cavalcanti, Dirk Heider, Jeffrey Humble, Nicholas de Laczkovich, Steve Mattocks, Zeynep Özge Aydın and Chiara Giannetti. The sponsor and my coach Jens Otto Lange! I would also like to thank all the other coaches and participants. See you soon!

Ux designer, photographer and art passionate. I am an observer, listener and problem solver, fascinated by human behaviour.