This year again, Sustainability Jams were happening at the same time all over the world! From Bali to Lima, Berlin and Munich were not left behind.
Imagine a music jam session where musicians come with their instruments and diverse know-how. They decide on a key to start playing (for example C sharp), and everyone brings in their own creative ideas. Sustainability Jams have a very similar approach. The key is a global theme, and the music is the generation of creative ideas to save the planet. All around the world, people participating in the Jams received the same theme on Friday at 6pm local time: a mysterious black and white video of moving shadows and people filming something indefinable with their smartphones. Each jammer and Jam location interpreted it in their own way, using this theme as inspiration for the weekend. In Munich, participants had to look at the video about 13 times to get over their initial surprise. Everyone was expecting the theme to be a word such as “mobility”, “community”, or “fun”. Definitely, no one was expecting this.
However, the Munich participants approached the theme in an intelligent way, and while being guided by experienced hackathon moderators and coaches of the Design Thinking agency Protellus, they had a weekend full of fun, learning, and saving the world. They discovered rapid prototyping, agile methods, and the renewable energy market. The Jam also gave them a good excuse to be playful and have fun while working on serious topics. They also had a short Skype session with the participants of the Jam in Luxembourg, to share ideas and to connect with other participants of the global event.
The main aim of the Munich organizing team was to connect everyone who had a slight interest in sustainability or Design Thinking. Therefore, the event in the style of a hackathon was non-profit, and open to everyone. An affordable Design Thinking workshop was created: if participants were unable to pay their 5 euros participation fee, they were still allowed to participate. In this way, they made sure that the sustainability consultant, the new bachelor student in woodwork, and the ice hockey player were brought together to brainstorm on solutions that can save our world. With this lowest possible barrier to entry, the organization team showed that everyone has the power to do something, connecting different people that would never have met otherwise.
At the end of this participatory event, everyone stated that they would like to follow up with the idea, and work together again in the Munich Sustainability Jam 2018, connecting one more time locals and globals.