This is how we twin

How the Dundee crew made twinning and global connecting a meaningful part of the Global Service Jam experience.

Farrah Berrou was the blogger for the Beirut Service Jam. In her blog she wrote “Highlight of the Event: Skype call with fellow Jammers in Dundee, Scotland”. To be honest, it was our highlight too. During the course of the Jam we skyped with Los Angeles, New York, Stockholm, Mumbai, Auburn Alabama and Melbourne. To begin with we did this from a large TV in the studio. This was fine and helped largely to enable some good conversations between organisers, but it set limits on engaging our participants. So the ever resourceful Ross Crawford (holding the laptop in the photo on the left above) became our SkypeMeister, carrying a laptop around the studio to introduce jammers across the world to each other. Above on the right we see Ross on the laptop in Beirut. This transformed the sense of internationalism in the jam. In future we should probably build on this further. All of our international Skype buddies brought a great sense of global connectedness to the occasion, but when we hooked up with Beirut, it was particularly magic.

I’ve explained elsewhere why I jam — but here I want to turn to the how. Every jam has its own way of making positive use of the global nature of the Global Service Jam, but this is the way we did it.

Encourage people to connect

All jammers are given hashtags and twitter handles and encouraged to tweet as they jam. We set up either a monitor or a projection of Tweetdeck with relevant feeds in view. During status report sessions we will refer to latest developments at other jams, and people afterwards will often scroll through the feeds for themselves and respond directly.

Schedule in time for Skyping

Skype chats involving the whole group (or whoever can get around a webcam) are scheduled throughout the day. Usually in Scotland there are jams held in Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen — so a Scottish Breakfast Skype has become something of a ritual on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. We then schedule in skype hookups at various points during the day. Above we see a group chat with New York. We were enjoying Saturday evening drinks and food, while in New York they were still in the middle of their busy afternoon. Catch up with your twin jam at least two or three times during the weekend — but also arrange conversations with others where you can.

It’s about conversation

Never forget, the point of doing this is to encourage conversations between people in different parts of the world, joined together in a common endeavour. We talk about design and process and prototyping — but in doing so we are sharing our life experiences. Do your best to encourage these conversations to be meaningful between individuals. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a room full of people drinking to the health of New York jammers, that’s all part of the jam camaraderie — but last year we had two Dundee jammers in Skype conversation with with Syrian refugee in Germany on an iPad, and many other instances where the jam provided more intimate in-depth sharing and collaboration. Jam mentors and organisers need to keep an eye on people who could benefit from this kind of collaboration, and scan the twitter feeds to find likely partners.

And it’s fun…

Then there’s the Global Service Jam dance challenge…

As jam organisers, part of your job is to connect your jammers with the international community from the moment they come along. In the weeks before the jam, Basecamp is a vital place to visit regularly to make contacts, fix up twinning and to lay the ground for this aspect of the jam. Make sure you timetable all communications in advance so that it is in your timeline — and that of your partners. But remain flexible, and look out for opportunities to link up and communicate with jammers worldwide.




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