Global Service Jam is a non-profit challenge aimed to grow the field of service design and customer experience. Participants are given an abstract theme and just 48 hours to design and prototype a service to ‘change the world’.
This year’s theme was a sound – the sound of something falling into water. I’d liken it to a stone dropping into a lake, but listen for yourself.
I was one of about 16 people who turned up to the ODI in Leeds on the Friday evening, where we were shown this video. We started off just writing words on post-its inspired by the sound, and then tried to group them into themes. Four distinct piles emerged and we were asked to go and loiter by the one that we were interested in, to form groups to work with. I was attracted to a group of post-its all about the environment – clean water, waste of water, etc. I found myself in a group with Anzir, an acadmic / puppeteer; Jody, a product designer; Kev, an agile coach; and Jonny, a developer. We discussed the topic and explored some early ideas, but as with all of these kind of things, the thing I thought I’d be developing on Friday night had morphed and changed radically by Sunday afternoon! Our initial idea was around ‘undoing Green-wash’, i.e. dispelling myths around things that people think are environmentally friendly, but aren’t.
However, it wasn’t long after we’d re-grouped on Saturday morning that we pivoted away and towards the topic of drinking water, and more specifically bottled water. A bit of research later, and we found that Britain consumes 3bn litres of bottled water per year, and seven litres of water are required to manufacture a single 1 litre volume disposable plastic bottle. So much water to create something to house water! This seems a crazy amount of waste when we’ve (nearly) all got access to clean tap-water in the UK.
We decided that we could create a service to aim to reduce people’s consumption of bottled water by highlighting where people can get tap water for free (in their own container).
With a bit of online research, we found a service that seemed to do what we wanted to do. The website suggested people could take a ‘Life bottle’ to be refilled at various outlets listed on a map – and two were in Leeds, so off we went to find out more. The first outlet we went to knew nothing about the service but said he’d be happy to refill a bottle; the second, an international chain, knew nothing about it and said it’s not something they’d do.
Rather than be disheartened that someone had got to our idea before us, we felt that we could build upon their idea, and that not only did the business have to be on board, but staff education would be key to making it work. We also felt that you didn’t need a fancy bottle – just refilling a normal plastic water bottle a few times would have a positive impact.
To develop our service, we generated personas, went out into Leeds city centre to interview people, talked to business owners, created some quick surveys using twitter polls, sketched out some concepts, a customer journey map, and even built a full lego prototype to create a storyboard.
While we were
playing with Lego working hard, Kev was creating a clickable wireframe app so we could test out the mobile part of the Service. That got us to the end of Saturday!
By 3.30pm Sunday we had to have uploaded our project, which had to include a prototype someone could use. Jody and Johnny got on with the branding, and Anzir and I looked at how we might incentivise the scheme -we were thinking along the lines of savings in waste processing allowing the council to offer an incentive.
To trial the service, we put a sticker in the window (which could be seen on the street), set-up the prototype mobile app and built a café in the corner and got testing.
I should mention the café, as we had a LOT of fun writing the menu and our specials board. Spam Three Ways could be yours for just £3! Or if the vegetarian option was more your thing, Corned Quorn Korma (say that a few times) was available at just £4. But I digress. Our first customer gave us interesting feedback – he felt it took too long to get his water, which gave us pause for thought (after our initial outrage – his FREE thing took too long?!). In an ideal world people would have filling stations that customers could use for themselves, but that would need a much bigger financial outlay to set up.
We ran another trial, got it videoed and uploaded everything within deadline – phew! You can get an awful lot done in 48 hours.