Prototyping new services with Lego and PostIt notes. There are always PostIt notes

Leeds Service Jam – everyone creating together

Prototyping new services with Lego and PostIt notes. There are always PostIt notes

If you have a job, the chances are you work in a service industry. Six out of seven Leeds workers do. They care for the sick and elderly, raise and teach the next generation, perform in the arts, clean the streets, drive the buses, staff the checkouts and help customers over the phone.

Strangely when people hear the word “design”, they don’t think of those things. Most picture graphic design, drawing and art, or physical products like architecture, interiors and dresses – all very nice, but why lavish creativity there while neglecting the stuff we do and have done to us every day?

There’s a worldwide movement that says we should think differently about services, and about design. Service design enlists designers’ people-centred tools and techniques to choreograph services wherever, however, and by whoever they are delivered.

The Service Design Drinks and Thinks events that we run here in Leeds are part of that movement, and so is the Global Service Jam.

On 1 March, people who are interested in service and using a design-based approach to problem solving and creativity will meet all over the globe. In a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams will have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme. On Sunday at 3pm, they publish them to the world.

Our contribution to the Global Service Jam, the Leeds Service Jam, will run at the creative co-working space Duke Studios, as part of the Make’Owt series, funded by Leeds City Council through Leeds Inspired.

This is a chance for the community of Leeds to take a fresh look at design and how we can use it for developing better services in the city. Whether you consider yourself a designer, a student, a manager, an entrepreneur, or just one voice in a very big crowd, it is an opportunity to learn by doing outside your usual working environment. There will also be fun, almost certainly involving PostIt notes and Lego.

We’ll provide the venue, materials, and service design resources for inspiration. All we need is you. What will you design in 48 hours?

To find out more, get on over to or follow @GSJLeeds on Twitter.

Kathryn Grace and Matt Edgar @MattEdgar
Organisers, Service Design Leeds