GovJam LA: Rocking the Public Sector in 48 Hours

Next week from June 4-6, GovJam LA will convene at the Hub LA for a 48-Hour collaborative service jam event. We’ll be bringing together gov folks, designers, and engaged citizens to re-imagine the way public services are delivered in Los Angeles.

The 48-hour Global Gov Jam takes the playful energy of the Global Service Jam and applies it to prototyping new services related to healthcare, education, public transportation, and other civic issues. For people working in the public sector, we’ll introduce you to design process and methodologies. For creatives and designers, we’ll introduce you to new ways of collaborating within the public sector. No design experience is necessary to join the Jam; in fact, we’re capping the number of designers who can participate, so we can ensure a diverse mix of Jammers with a mix of skills and view points.

Jamming offers a high-energy, massively diverse environment which focuses firmly on doing, not talking. By moving through a common innovation process, participants move away from well-trodden paths, building on each other’s ideas to take practical, constructive steps towards novel solutions.

From my experience co-organizing Service Jam LA in March, I saw two secret ingredients to a successful Jam. One is a bias toward doing, not talking. The end goal for all the teams is a working prototype of a new service. Participants will be given all the necessary tools and supplies to make their ideas real—to get their thoughts down on paper and to create prototypes instead of talking in endless circles. Prototyping allows for more effective collaboration and quicker progression of the design process.

The second secret ingredient is fun. While each Jam location is different, you’ll often find costumes, dance parties, and props at many of them. GovJam LA will be no exception. The global Service Jam community encourages playing seriously: We’ll be keeping things light to encourage innovation and creativity, but our Jam will be highly productive as well with Jammers working intensely toward concrete results. Though I knew about the Jam’s spirit of fun, it wasn’t until I experienced it fully during the 48 hours of the Service Jam that I appreciated how much the FUN enhances the spreading of new ideas and the learning of new methods.

The concrete results produced by Jammers might be in the form of new initiatives or platforms, new policies, and new public services. Teams will show how their services work by building working “prototypes,” which might be a video, a website or app, a service journey, a business model, etc. Less tangible but equally (if not more!) valuable results will be in forming relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and getting hands-on experience with new working methods. Jammers may even find that breaking out of their daily routines and being creative in a new environment gives them a fresh solution to a challenges they’ve been stuck on!

Global Gov Jam originated in Canberra, Australia as a way to encourage public sector professionals to “purposefully design public policy in a human centred way.” This year, the GovJams are spreading worldwide in over 30 cities.

Register today for GovJam LA (or for a Jam in your city) to join us as we re-imagine how public services are delivered…in 48 hours. We can’t wait to Jam with you!