So this week I participated in XJamGov, which was part of the international Global Service Jam and was focused on the public sector/government.
First and foremost it was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in a long time…I didn’t expect to learn so much in such a short time. It sort of felt like the first time I attended a govcamp event – I was nervous, anxious, intrigued and fascinated by the whole thing.
As the picture shows I wanted to:
- Learn – new things and learn about people
- Make – cool things
- Be inspired – to change the world
It met each on of these (although I think i was probably motivated to change the world beforehand).
So what did I get from this event?
Well it wasn’t all easy and free-flowing, I found parts of it hard to engage with and the fast pace meant that you couldn’t really hang around and reflect on stuff.
The first kick off session starting on Tuesday by receiving the secret theme and then capturing ideas, this was straight forward as a concept but the approach was refreshing so made it feel new. The next bit was straight into developing ideas and that became strangely hard as it didn’t seem to create any tangible ideas i could connect with so I was at risk of disconnecting with the process right at the beginning. However I trusted the organisers (Simon Gough and Phillippa Rose) so went with it. About 15 minutes before we finished I was part of a conversation with a couple of other participants and we started formalising an idea and it started to make sense and we quickly became more and more focused on that and then it all started making sense.
On Wednesday morning the sun was shining and I had managed to reflect on the ideas we were talking and discussing yesterday and when I caught up with the others who then became fellow team members we started to recap on where we thought we were and we quickly started to develop the idea and was then tasked with creating a concept to show the other teams. Our team was called “Team Troubadour”….
The basic concept we developed was that stories and storytelling can change the world and help people and communities grow…we put together a Lego model and some sketches which outlined the concept and were then tasked with sharing this with others for constructive challenge.
After the challenge session we had to do some more formal work around business models and used the business model canvas to help us flesh out what our service actually was, who it was for and how we would create it.
I really enjoyed this session and found the process of only picking one customer segment very challenging but it was a critical step in helping us define a minimum viable product.
Our customer segment was schools and our idea was that a school would sign up and be tasked to gather stories from within their community and then be responsible for how these stories are shared. We also had the idea that each school would need to find a global partner school and they would challenge the school to also gather stories from within their community and each would share the results with each other via our platform.
So we ended up with a proposition and description which was this:
We want to help reconnect people to each other and to their communities through the power of story telling.
By sharing stories we open ourselves up, enable learning in unexpected ways, and ultimately provide opportunities to increase community cohesion, social understanding and general well-being.
We provide a ‘Troubadour’ story telling pack, which includes story guides, story prompts, story wheels and a variety of other educational resources which invite people to have the courage to share.
Troubadour also provides an online service which enables groups to open up their projects for sharing and collaboration with other groups.
Some of the challenge we identified were that stories are often hard to tell, sometimes hard to uncover, so we wanted to create a set of tools which helped facilitate that process…We then started prototyping and we were talking about the products and services we needed to create…one of the first prototypes we created was a story wheel. We did some curriculum mapping, customer personas, resource development, website wire-framing and researched other websites and platforms around how they worked and operated.
We were able to road test the concept using our own team and some of the pirates who come in to constructively challenge your ideas…
The whole process was intense, inspiring and also fun, I don’t recall having this much fun whilst being so productive…I’ve learnt a huge amount around this aspect specifically that I spent some time this afternoon chatting on google plus with one of my team about how we can learn from and adopt some of the techniques and approaches to get more from what we do.
Thursday was mainly focused on finalising our prototypes and creating our presentation to upload to the govjam website for it to be shared.
It was fast paced and fully of funny moments as well as some challenging conversations…however we managed to create a presentation and upload it, as well as uploading and linking to a number of the resources etc we had done.
Most of the teams work can be found here http://www.govjam.org/project/21993
The other teams results are available here http://www.govjam.org/govjam13/jamsite/21663/projects
This is the video we created…
So would I do this again…without a doubt and I would HIGHLY recommend these events to anyone and everyone…It truly was an inspiring few days.