June 3rd to 5th, 2014 teams in 28 different locations around the world each gathered to tackle big global, public problems faced by governments and citizens at all levels.
Focussing on a common theme, the teams of people in Ottawa and across the globe joined forces to define and research problems facing the public service and find feasible, concrete solutions that could actually be built – not just talked about.
This year’s theme for the 2014 Global GovJam was (T)RUST.
Each team framed the theme in a way that applied it to public services or citizens. Some groups worked on the actual word “Trust”, addressing problems around the credibility of information and focusing on how people feel about governmental and public service information. Others focused on the “Rust” portion of the theme, looking at issues related to deteriorating infrastructure and expectations, a result of older structures, systems and ways of thinking.
Once problems were identified, teams took to the streets and talked to real people who might be facing the problems they were focusing on. They asked questions, encouraged feedback and went to the drawing board.
The end of day one and beginning of day two was all about building real, tangible solutions – not talking about them, but actually building them. Armed with an assortment of tools including computers, pen, paper and play-doh, each team began to create prototypes of what their solution might look like. Some used online prototyping services, some used video, but all got dirty and built something. There’s was no contemplating in this 48 hour design jam. This jam was all business.
With prototypes built, it was time to test. Again, teams took to the streets, presenting and promoting their solutions to real people to illicit feedback and find out how they could make adjustments for the greater good. For some, this meant rebuilding large portions of their project and leaving the rest behind, for all it was a key learning that even if you invest time in something, it does not mean you can always hold on to it – sometimes you just need to scrap it and move on.
Just as the final touches were drying on end products, the judging began. Each team was given the opportunity to present their problem, solution and vision. And what vision! The results were impressive, interesting and encouraging to see. A picture of what people can do with right tools, encouragement and support.
All teams came up with a solution to their problem in the time given, complete with end prototype, project background and strategy. Solutions proposed took the form of:
- An app to communicate degrading infrastructure
- A web service that matched Canadians to services across all levels of government
- A new communications standard that would ensure a prompt response time on Twitter
- A pop-up shop to get public service prototypes in front of Canadians to test before they launched
- A tool to connect engaged Canadians with the right people inside government to encourage and facilitate change
In the end it was Co-Create Canada, the tool to connect engaged Canadians with the right people inside government, who took the judges’ choice prize – a month’s worth of access to the space and resources at 1125@carleton. But in this GovJam everyone came out a winner after the 48 hours of problem solving, design and creating….government at all levels and citizen’s included.
The two-day event brought all types of people together from inside and outside of government to make change and encourage learning that would support new ways of thinking about problem solving and solution development in all areas of public service delivery. To show not tell people how even just 48 hours’ worth of action could change the face of government and build “Trust” in an environment that has been eroded by lowered expectations, frustrations and a history of old thinking.
Ottawa GovJam proved that great people can do great things with focus, the right tools and the right team.
That anything is possible.
Jumping Elephants was delighted to have the opportunity to support such a fantastic event in our city to show citizens, designers and public service members alike that anything is possible. The event showcased our core belief that great change can come out of wonderful people doing amazing things and we are so happy for the success of the event, the teams and everyone that will be impacted by new ways of thinking in government problem solving. We can’t wait to see what happens next!