In February 2014 I participated in the Global Service Jam at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. The event was sponsored by the Service Systems Design Master’s Program at the University, and took place in a spacious room overlooking the canals of Tegelholmen and Sydhavn. The theme of the jam this year was a hand-drawn set of origami instructions and was used as a starting point for inspiration to create a service that will “change the world” The time limit for developing the service solution was 48 hours.

After a compelling workshop including divergent and convergent thinking exercises by Balder Onarheim from the Copenhagen Institute for Neurocreativity, my group of four Jammers emerged with the theme, or metaphor, of a Beehive.

During the next two days we evolved our theme from a recycling station, to a homeless centre made up of self-built hexagonal shelters, to a local skills-sharing event for fixing and mending things, to an online platform that connects people that need skills with people who have skills.

The platform is called Beehive, and we see potential for its use as a job-searching and skills development network, or as a way to build social networks both online and in local communities. The potential benefits are providing the unemployed with a productive way to spend time between jobs, overcoming loneliness and alienation in the community (thus improving mental health) and helping those on a fixed income (e.g., seniors, students, under/unemployed) to be more resourceful.

My group (me, Andriy, Begum, Xinji) collaborated on initial brainstorming, concept refinement, prototyping physical and digital user journeys, testing the concept by interviewing people in our target group, and refining the idea with more prototypes and a quick presentation.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I added some new new creativity tools to my designer’s toolbox, met some fun and wildly creative people and practiced my prototyping skills.

Thanks to the orgnisers at AAU, and guest lecturers Balder Onarheim, Thomas Bjarner, Alisan Atvur (check out Alisan’s design research and strategy reading list), Charlotte Praestmose Christiansen and Stine Skotte Mikkelsen from Designit and the three judges Thor Rigtrup Larsen, Eilidh Dickson and Emilie Mollenbach for adding your time and expertise to the the Jam.