Global Goals Jam

The Global Goals Jam is a design hackathon that aims to use design as a way to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It started in 2016 in 17 locations and has been growing steadily.

Understanding the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals

The Goals for sustainable development were developed by the United Nations as a way to have measurable and achievable goals, however the communication of the goals make it feel like it’s something that larger organisations need to address. The Global Goals Jam started as an idea from within the MediaLAB Amsterdam with close collaboration with the UNDP as a way to have people all over the world understand the Global Goals and to make people understand that they too can start change within their communities.

Global Goals Jam Structure

Setting up a format that would allow locations all over the world to have a successful Jam.

For the Global Goals Jam, we knew that the different locations would have very different levels of experience using Design Thinking. At the same time we knew that locations would have different facilities, different access to resources, different time frames and different amounts of participants.

Because of that we decided to simplify the process as much as possible and split the process into 4 sprints. Each sprint would focus on a specific part of the design process, and each sprint would have methods that we recommended each location should use.

The process was split into four sprints.

Sprint 1 focused on empathising and gaining understanding of the challenge the team would be tackling.

Sprint 2 aimed to structure the insights gained and defining the requirements and constrains in which the challenge is placed.

Sprint 3 tackled ideating concepts and figuring out which of these would help the users in their situation in the best way possible.

Sprint 4 took everything that they had learned and  brought it together to build a prototype. We encouraged the teams to test these prototypes amongst other teams but since time was extremely limited, it was decided to not focus on testing too much.

Global Goals Jamkit and methods

Selecting Methods and structuring the Jam

For the first version of the jam and to not confuse the participants, the Jam included two methods per sprint. For sprint one the participants would map out their stakeholders by making an actor’s map, and then by using empathy in action get a better understanding of the problem. For the second sprint, the participants would do brainstorming using the KJ method and pick the most promising idea by dot voting. Third sprint asked participants to sketch out the idea as a way to understand what they needed, and proceed to prototyping. Final sprint we asked them to evaluate the feasibility of their idea.

This has been the backbone of the Global Goals Jam, it has been modified to its current version by other people, adding more methods and structuring it so it can have more impact. However, even though I am not as involved as before, I still take part in the discussions around which methods and structure the Jam evolves into.

Global Goals Jam brand

I worked with the digital creative agency GRRR and the team within the Digital Society School on renewing the Global Goals Jam brand and updating the website so that it allowed for a better user experience, both for organisers and participants of jams. At the same time putting effort into making the brand inclusive and easily adaptable by the different cultures, while keeping its core look and feel.

There wasn’t a starting point for the brand, but rather there was a logo that was developed and the elements of the brand were developed around it. The website was developed by using ready made elements and as time progressed new functions and elements were added to it, based on the desires from different stakeholders and there wasn’t a thought process regarding the overall experience.

The main purpose of the jam, the intended audience and the results were analysed and used as the basis to define the brand values. These brand values are:

  • Human
  • Diverse
  • Active
  • Spontaneous
  • Doer’s
  • Contemporary
  • Energetic
  • Sustainable

At the same time, the brand should be closer to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the UNDP, but at the same time have its distinct look and feel. After briefing and a few iterations this was the result.

Global Goals Jam website

I collected the requirements that the Digital Society School had for the website based on the experience of previous years and worked with GRRR so that they could translate it into user journeys and wireframes. I then made sure the internal requirements were fulfilled by the designs GRRR.

Global Goals Jam brand guidelines

I prepared brand guidelines that could be shared with all the different locations all over the world to make sure they could create materials by themselves and make sure they looked consistent with the Global Goals Jam brand. You can download them by clicking here.