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Global Service Jam 2014

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Global Service Jam 2014

48 hours to change the world!

Take a Service Safari

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Fancy mailbox in Quebec
Fancy mailbox in Quebec

It may be cold outside, but the weather’s perfect for a Service Safari. One way to get inspired for service design ideas is to experience good and bad services yourself. Get out of the house and into the wild. Explore everyday services in your neighborhood with the sharp eye of a service designer.

What to pack

Take a small camera, a small notebook and a pen. Keep it light.

Start the journey

Chances are, you’re surrounded by service. Mail a letter. Grab a bus or taxi. Order a coffee. Borrow a library book. Get a haircut. Use a public restroom. Pump gas.

An underwhelming bus stop in San Francisco
An underwhelming bus stop in San Francisco

Switch into “observer mode”

Pay attention to what you see and how you feel while experiencing your service. Snap pictures and scribble notes.

  • How does it begin?
  • How are you spoken to by the service provider?
  • Are you given anything to read?
  • Are you expected to guide yourself through the service?
  • What does payment feel like?
  • What happens if something goes wrong?
  • Is it personal or anonymous?
  • Does it make you feel good?
  • How does it end?
Public hygiene humor in Pittsburgh, PA
Public hygiene humor in Pittsburgh, PA

Moments of Truth

Pay attention to the smallest moments of your service experience. Has anyone taken special care to ensure that the service is pleasurable? Look for funny or well-crafted language on signs, packaging or receipts. Is there tangible service evidence? You may have received a freebie or souvenir like shampoo, food samples, or a punch card. Perhaps there was a bump in the road during your service journey. Did you get lost,  confused about what to do next, or felt that something was missing? Were you able to recover on your own? Did someone appear to help? How did your emotions change as you moved along from beginning to end?

Wayfinding with an environmental success story in Portland, Maine
Wayfinding with an environmental success story in Portland, Maine

Reflect and critique

You’ve just played the role of the customer. Now you’re a step closer to empathizing with the needs of your future potential customer. You may now realize that your contact with the customer isn’t limited to the few seconds or minutes you might spend with them face to face. Your customer could use guidance to learn about how to use your service, and may want follow-up care after the service is complete.

The customer is a person

The needs you felt that may have had nothing to do with the primary service. For example, was there a period of waiting? Was there somewhere to put your things, something to read or watch, or a cup of coffee to tide you over while you waited? Look at the artifacts your service produces: the menu, the signage, the packaging of a product. What sort of voice is being used to speak to your customer through those pieces of service evidence?


Learn more about Service Design and Service Safaris. Read This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jacob Schneider, 2010, BIS publishers.

Article and photographs by Jessamyn Miller. Boston Service Jam. Copyright 2014.

The 2014 Boston Service Jam has a home

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We’re pleased to announce the location of the 2014 Boston Service Jam. We’ll be jamming all weekend at the HI-Boston again this year! Also known as the Boston Youth Hostel, HI-Boston is a Hosteling International hostel located in Chinatown. The Jam headquarters will be the community room on the first floor, next to the cafe.

HI-Boston is accessible by transit, has a spacious lobby, WiFi and is a great place for jammers to get out and test their prototypes in the city streets of Boston. The hostel is in walking distance to Boston Common, the MBTA, and plenty of urban inspiration.

Thank you HI-Boston for hosting the jam again this year! See you soon!

Where will we jam?

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Today the Boston Service Jam organizers scoped out three possible venue spaces we’re considering for the jam. We’d love to hear from our jam community which space would be the best for this year’s event. Comment below or tweet us @BOS_service jam #gsj #boston

Hack/Reduce Cambridge

Hack/Reduce was a big, open space with plenty of seating, A/V setup, whiteboards and tables. There wasn’t anyone there so we just walked around the outside and looked in the windows. It has a large courtyard. It’s in a residential area, so coffee/food is 2-4 blocks away. The closest transit is Red Line Kendall/MIT. There was little street parking. Looks like we are talking to a representative from hack/reduce tomorrow. Stay tuned.

275 Third St, Cambridge, MA 02142‎

District Hall

District Hall is on Seaport Blvd. down near ICA. It’s a large, newly renovated building and has beautiful, open workspace with whiteboard-paint walls, cafe and conference table seating. There is a cafe on site but it was closed. There was also a full-service restaurant on site, Gather, which was open Sunday.  There was some street parking but mostly paid lots. The closest transit is Silver Line.

District Hall
75 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210


Boston Youth Hostel

Boston Youth Hostel has a big, open lobby space and was bustling when we visited. There was almost no parking out front. The nearest transit stop is Chinatown. The community room looks like it could hold 15-20 people max. There’s a piano in the room, tables, chairs, A/V setup, a cafe (open). There are a lot of cafes and restaurants nearby. The lobby has tables, chairs and soft seating for lounging.

19 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

I want to jam with you

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Boston Service Jammers brainstorming and sketching their service design concept.
Boston Service Jammers brainstorming and sketching their service design concept.

The Boston Service Jam is a weekend-long creative event where teams imagine and prototype a service design concept. Part of the Global Service Jam taking place around the world the weekend of March 7-9, 2014, the Boston Service Jam is open to students, designers, teachers and members of the community interested in learning about and practicing service design. Participants work in teams to brainstorm and build their ideas, then present them to each other and the world.

Why Jam?

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What is a Jam? Every Jam is different, but this film by Josh Lee from the London site of the Global Sustainability Jam shows one way it can be.

(via Global Service Jam)