X Jam Gov 2014

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X Jam Gov 2014 is over. After 48 hours of ideas, prototypes and play we have two projects, Whatever and IMBY, to show for our efforts. Familiar faces from last year’s X Jam Gov were joined by some new ones (including two police officers) and we managed our best ever Jam twinning, squeezing in a few pretty good Google+ Hangouts with Szczecin and Barcelona.

This year saw us move to a new space at Devon County Council, a dedicated Jam Room that will be left open for exploration throughout the year. We can’t wait to see what’s happened in it by the time we return for X Jam Gov 2015. Let’s hope that the materials we’ve left behind spark more than just passing curiosity.

We love how Devon County Council has embraced the spirit of the Jam. The commitment to maintaining a more playful space is part of that, but it goes deeper. Beyond the Jam regulars we had occasional visits from other members of the organisation. They may not have spent the whole time with us but they came with an open mind and left with new ideas. As fast-paced and high-energy as Jams can be it’s often the quieter, more reflective outputs that have the greatest impact.

We used this year’s Jam to pilot a new canvas for designing with data, after all Jams offer the perfect environment for trying out new things. Jams are all about safe spaces, environments for experimentation. Initial feedback on the canvas was favourable and we’ll be sharing the “finished” product on here soon.

The data canvas was one of a handful of tools we used over the Jam. Lucy and Lilly kindly gave us a presentation on Personas. There was also some rough and ready Service Blueprinting, but as with everything it was about including just enough. Instead of allowing the tools to set the agenda we tried to discuss only what was needed to get the job done. Previous Jams have taught us how beneficial it can be to introduce a simple tool at precisely the right moment.

One of the key themes of this year’s X Jam Gov was Open Data. We considered the human aspects of Open Data, and explored how to incorporate it into the design process. We also set the stage for further development with Open Data. On the Friday morning after the Jam a few of us got together to discuss how prototypes could be taken forward (more on this shortly). Although the Jam isn’t about just the prototypes, those final creations provide their own starting points for connecting with new communities and making new things.

It was great to work with Devon County Council again; thanks to Carl and Kevin for helping to make it happen. Thanks also to all the other members of DCC who either took part or at least took the time to come and talk about what was going on. We hope to see them again next year.

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