London Sustainability Jam 2012

Posted in: Public engagement

DTC MRes student Marcus Johns brings us this report on the recent Global Sustainability Jam.

Sustainability Jam participants pitch their project idea
Sustainability Jam participants pitch their project idea

48 hours to create a brand-new real-world idea with a group of people you’ve never met before, could it happen? Being intrigued, I decided to find out.

This was the first Global Sustainability Jam to be run, building on the Global Service Jam, and the London event was one of 58 simultaneously run events across the world over the weekend of 2nd-4th November. The basic concept was to do rather than discuss and this immediately came across: we were given just over an hour from meeting the other members of our groups on Friday night to come up with a single idea to work on over the rest of the weekend, based on the theme of ((heart))beats.

Most people present at the event were designers of some form with the event doubling up as a networking event. Being a voluntary project, a number of people failed to turn up on the Saturday – for example, the group that I was in went from 9 people to 3. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as it helped us focus more than some of the other groups.

It was interesting to see how people perceived ‘sustainability’ – I may have been the only person who brought up the Brundtland definition – with most people talking about life-cycles of products and getting people involved with nature and their local community, and a number of people saying that they’d never heard of the word before.

Over the course of the weekend 244 separate projects were generated and presented across the globe, ranging from promoting the local community via bread baking to encouraging businesses to turn off their lights at night. The project I was involved with came up with an innovative way to deal with the two major problems with Barclays Bikes, namely the time taken to actually get a bike out and the lack of spaces or bikes at your location.

The weekend was an enjoyable experience albeit stressful – our initial idea was scrapped at 17:30 on the Saturday – and we have the option to continue with the projects in the future, which is an exciting prospect.

More information on the Global Sustainability Jam

Posted in: Public engagement


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