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Global Service Jam: Changing the World in 48 Hours

Next weekend, people will meet in locations all over the world with one simple mission: changing the world in 48 hours.



Next weekend, people will meet in locations all over the world with one simple mission: changing the world in 48 hours.
The Global Service Jam, taking place in over 40 countries worldwide, is the non-profit I started with fellow service innovation professional Markus Hormess. We were fascinated by the energy of hackathons and game jams, and wanted to bring that fire to our field of interest—the design and innovation of services.
From a planned core of "three to six" locations just two years ago, the annual Jam has grown beyond all expectations, with over 100 cities joining in this weekend for the third edition.
It's amazing to see the energy released. Jammers say they do three weeks' work in the weekend, and that it's one of the best weekends of the year.
The trick seems to be the free, fun attitude which is the trademark of the Jams. Every Jam is different. At many, you will see superhero costumes, dance-offs and—for some reason—rubber chickens; while others look more like everyday workplaces. But they are all playful, and all massively productive.
The Jammers form teams to "Jam" around a common, still secret Surprise Theme. Then, at the end of the weekend, they publish their prototype services under Creative Commons licensing. The project results are excellent. But they are only the most visible outcome of the Jam. What we also have are thousands of people with new skills, new friendships, new energy and new attitudes to work, growth, and innovation. That's what sticks, and that's what really changes the world.
The Global Service Jam has spun off two sister events with similar formats. Global GovJam, a co-initiative with the Australian Government, applies the same energy to innovating public services. And the Global Sustainability Jam has the simple ambition to not just change the world, but help save it.
In 48 hours, of course.
To find your nearest service jam, visit globalservicejam.org.
We’re challenging the GOOD community to commit our time to service. Go here to pledge 1 percent of your time—that’s 20 hours—to being part of the solution this year.
Images courtesy of Global Service Jam.
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