Gobal Gov Jam or.. My first day at work


Jaspreet Purewal joined the team on a recent trip to Leeds – her first day in So-mo involved skypes with Greek collaborators, Lego & a rather confusing global challenge!

With a 48 hour window to collectively produce creative answers to some big public sector challenges the So-Mo team had their work cut out.

Global Gov Jam is a global phenomenon which sees teams across key locations globally to collaborate and solve some big challenges facing the public sector. We headed to Leeds but jams took place in Singapore, Greece (our twin team) Taiwan and even Slovenia

Jammers use Human Centred Design tools to solve problems which means that the focus is on ‘doing not talking’, working in an Agile way and co-designing solutions with collaborators.

Most important of all it emphasises design from a user perspective – not from the needs of the service provider.


We arrived in Leeds the evening before the main jam. Facilitators unveiled a rather ambiguous theme (a key hole) which left the So-mo team (& most other jammers) a little baffled!


Excitement and anticipation piqued – our heads began to tick overnight in order to pull apart the obscure theme.
The next day teams were formed and we began to ‘jam’.

Each small team focused upon a challenge they felt was prominent in the realms of public sector, with a focus on user experience.

Processes such as personas and customer journey maps were beneficial in contributing to the overall picture with user experience at the heart of every interaction.

The development of seven user experience designed prototypes that would tackle intricate elements of the public sector included Databook (a way to personally manage the information services collect about you), Bin There (an innovative solution to Leeds’ Recycling problems) Community: Connect (find people for community projects), Life Helper (an easy way to find information about services), The Cook Truck (a mobile healthy cooking school), MRKT (Connecting people experiencing poverty with ethical businesses looking to reuse their food waste) and Leeds Pond (a way for people in Leeds to meet, share & re-use knowledge, skills & resources).

With principles based on being co-creative, crossing silos and actively including users with the aim of ‘creation by doing not talking’, the end result proved to be an ambitious move in getting one step closer to better public services that placed users at the centre of every interaction.


Tom Riordan the Chief Executive of Leeds City council arrived on the last day as a surprise guest – & whilst we can’t predict what he took from the day we would be very disappointed we expect next time we visit the wonderful city of Leeds not to see orange smiley bins!

This is no normal networking event, this is a space in which formality is dumped as soon as you step through the doors.

Oh and we had our own personal successes with CEO Nicola winning the high flying ambition prize (a model plane)! and me winning the most nosey person award (a torch)!

Roll on the next one – who knows we may even host one here in Liverpool with our chums from


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