Sustaining the Jam

Sketchnote of Perth Sustainability Jam 2012
Sketchnote of the Jam for 2012

Over the last weekend, 2-4 November, I participated in the first ever Perth Sustainability Jam, as part of the Global Sustainability Jam, 48 hours, 59 locations saving the world.

The Jam was a fun, if not an exhausting experience.  

It showed clearly how to bring together a room of strangers, from different backgrounds, and forge them into a cohesive quality team producing outstanding results in less than 21 hours (working time) out of the 48 hours allocated.

One of the refreshing attitudes was not discussing how to do the processes and techniques around the jam, but to just get on and do them, learning on the fly in most cases.

The reason I signed up for the jam was to practice a series of tools and techniques with people I don’t normally work with and maybe learn a few more.

I must admit that by Friday afternoon I was a little sceptical of the entire affair; the call to have the usual relaxing evening and a refreshing climb on Saturday was very strong.  

However I went along anyway, if for nothing else than to meet new people from completely different industries.

I’m glad I did.

Theme – Heartbeats

The theme for the 2012 Jam was ((Heart)) Beats.  Which lead to some very interesting issues around which projects where designed and possible solutions produced.  

The outcome of the Perth Jam was four distinct projects: reducing package waste, reducing consumerism, promoting communal food production, and a way to make work environments energy neutral.

Designing without a Net

One of the liberating aspect of the weekend was the rapid development time for the solutiuons using a very much Lean and Agile approach to the interactive prototype of the solution.

Plus the bonus of not having to use a computer, sometimes you just need a break from the digital!

However all weekend I had lot of niggling questions about various aspects of our solution.  Fine details, some of which could trip the project up, especially in various contextual reference points.  

The lack of initialising research, was for me personally and professionally a little off putting.   However for most groups at the Jam this lack of research was supplemented by the expertise of the local sustainability people at the Jam.

Lessons Learnt

The outcome of the Jam was just amazing.

It was rewarding to see how far the solutions had come in such a short time with just a focused collaborative effort.  

Although for me personally  due to my UX  research and design background  I did find the Jam a little like another day at the office.  In reality I didn’t really learn any new techniques.

Thinking back on the weekend there is one thing that did really become apparent – some aspects of UX and UCD are just broken time silos. More on this to come.

I also had a wonderful opportunity to work and collaborate with some very talented people.  Some of which I would gladly work with again anytime.

The next Perth Sustainability Jam will be in March 2013 – this time a Global Service Jam (thanks Adam), I recommend people get along to this unique non-digital creative experience.

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