The distance and social confinement were completing six months when I read about a weekly meeting of design thinking professionals, the Web Wednesday Jam. To my surprise, the meetings were espetacular due to the quality of the themes chosen and mainly by the speakers and participants.
Incredible professionals spread across all continents, contrasted by different time zones and cultural experiences enrich the practical activities of each session.
In times like today, being a part of this group made me realize how much we can learn from people that have so many differences!
I am proud to be part of the WWJ!
Nearly a year gone by. I stepped in at no.5 Gamification for Better Online Sessions. Excited, ambitious and nervous. Knowing much about play and gamification, willing to share; how would it work, this online jam? Stop over-thinking. Start doing. Have faith in the community.
Our journey is full of courage, wonder, support, some #failingforward, some gaps, some glitches. But most of all, we care about each other and lift each other up. To learn more, to dare to apply. To pick you up, when you fail. We all have learned, we all have changed.
Yes, WednesdayWebJam has turned out to be a living lab. It really exists. Participants come and share warm feelings. Exchange stories and ‘become who we are’. We play with open hearts, open minds and open hands. What else need I to tell, explain, share about play or gamification? Do you - participant of wednesdaywebjam - feel in which play you have enrolled? 😋 I believe #formfollowsfun. We found a form to contain the fun.
WednesdayWebJam has a heartbeat and it beats every ... Wednesday.
WWJ # 31 Speakers
Reflecting on WWJ:
Brandon and I had been working on a few different ideas together after Pandemic turned our world upside down.. One of the ideas was testing our hypothesis that we can learn to be more creative if we allow people to play without any agenda, but incorporating storytelling in the play. When WWJ’s Ezequiel invited us for a session, our immediate reaction was, “yes!” then we said, “what should we do?”
We wanted to bring the playful storytelling elements into the session. So instead of calling our session, “Design Thinking XYZ”, we named it “tinker town.”
It was fun to build the tinker town. We imagined how people would get to the tinker town. We thought what would they play with in this town? Who will they meet?
Brandon and I then created a vehicle that brought people to the tinker town… a train to tinker town. It was fun to be on the train…. And I hope everyone felt the excitement when they finally arrived at the tinker town.
For us WWJ was an amazing playground where we were able to build our own town, bring people along infused with imagination and storytelling. We tested a few new playful tools too! The magic of Scene painting in the beginning and the ending were finally captured at WWJ. Without so many people really experiencing it together, we wouldn’t have known the power of it.
What did WWJ allow us to do?
Lee: It was a wonderful opportunity to expand our world of ideas and connect with amazing folks!
Brandon: Meet a ton of amazing people, share some cool tools, and experiment with some new toys! Thank you for having us
What seemed to be a one time event, just to satisfy my curiosity, soon turned out to be a long term relationship. I found about WWJ from LinkedIn sometime in May during the lockdown.
I was intrigued by the diversity of the topics we discussed at WWJ. But more than that, by the people. I believe we are a global community of explorers, seekers, experimenters and creators. As a UX Researcher, WWJ for me has been about gethering new perspectives, learning new tools and challenging my stereotypes.
Some ideas like Yuen Yen's #formfollowsfun and the broader ideology of #failingforward resonated with me. And before I knew I found myself among these amazingly talented group of people called 'Social Mafias' volunteering to fail forward. It has been an enriching learning journey since then!
WWJ #31 Speaker
"I was a little nervous prior to the WWJ virtual session... how would my story go over, could I put the passion in to convey the empathy for the Users, would technology get in the way of the message? The great team at Design Thinking Group/ WWJ helped me relax and once the session started and the great questions started rolling in I knew I was with like-minded friends, with good probing reflections. The virtual huddle was a refreshing hour together to scratch our heads on how to make the world a better place!"
"Serendipity brought me to this wonderful experimental space where every design thinker is invited to try out things, reflect, exchange... and fail of course!
"Every Wednesday, I attend to my paradoxical haven. At the WWJ, I simultaneous live the experience of sharing and give the voice of my ideas and views about the now and the future of our work as facilitators and design thinkers. It's about impermanence and chaos. At the same time, I do feel it as a cozy place where all our needs as empathetic people that are living in a low-touch economy can be addresses trough meaningful conversations, support, experience sharing. For me, WWJ is a full spectrum experience."
WWJ Community/ Speaker
My journey as as Wednesday Web Jammer started shorty after the lockdown - period that I call it the 2020 revolution that united people from all over the world in front of a screen. :D
As I’m a curious person at heart, I was very eager to attend the first session of this amazing Wednesday Web Jam journey that was initially started by Arne Van Oosterom. And what an adventure it was so far.
What I have found in Wednesday Web Jam, was first of all, a lovely community of people joining together from different parts of the world. Meeting all these new people that shared their stories, life/work experiences with people that they’ve just met online for the first time. It was amazing to be surrounded by open-minded people, to learn about different cultures and customs, and learning together as well.
As part of this amazing Wednesday Web Jam community, I have contributed with sharing my success stories. Not only, presenting new ideas and my own thoughts, point of views regarding the topics discussed during our weekly sessions. It felt good to have your voice heard and listened, and to co-create together as a community by simply sharing, collaborating and learning from one another.
What I have learnt so far with Wednesday Web Jam - first of all personally for me - is that I have a voice that wants to be heard. I have a story to share. I have my own successes and my own failures such as all of us. And I shouldn’t let the fear of speaking up to hold me back. I have learnt something from all the people that are part of this wonderful community of Wednesday Web Jammers and that is because - and I will always say this - we are all unique. We all have that WOW factor within us, that spark that makes us unique. If we put all these unique people in one place together, just imagine the possibilities we can create by making this world a better place for all of us and for future generations as well.
As an initiative to start making a change and being inspired by the Wednesday Web Jam community (and first of all by that person that believed in me more than I believed in myself) I have created my very first podcast. I bring people from various backgrounds to talk about their passions and how the same passions are positively influencing their personal and professional life. It’s as a way to give back to the community by offering people a voice of their own as well and face the fear of being heard as I’m no different at all.
Whatever you want to accomplish in your life, never give up despite the fear, the self-doubts, the negative self-talk, remove yourself from all that and do what you’re meant to do. As the saying goes: “The world is your oyster.”
Building a session at WWJ was driven by curiosity, questioning and the element of play. It was a quick faced session where the participants were given context and related design activities for execution, persona making and role-playing. Breakout rooms were made for the participants to carry out the tasks while a casual discussion took place in the main zoom room. We were all quite chatty! The aim was to co-build as a group and explore what is important to us in this world of shifts and new normals.
Do we always know what kind of experience we are aiming to build for our facilitation group?
Some say it should be pre proposed, indicative or predictive while others think the experience should be immersive and intuitive. I believe in a combination of both. There should be perspective, and yet it should be free-flowing, it should be fun yet relatable and enjoyable. I have never before designed such shortly timed activities. It was challenging, but it did add up to a new experience. I loved the fact that people from remote locations were present! The WWJ was very encouraging.
What was my takeaway?
Be ambitious with a cause
Designing a fast-paced workshop requires more planning and precision than longer ones. There is no room for wonder. Be thorough with your ambitions, purpose and outcome. You might want to serve them the main course and entree. But be aware! How will it work? What are your participants achieving out of the experience? Will they understand? Giving the users enough time to understand the exercise; being transparent and descriptive is very important. It allows immersion to follow easily.
Essence vs practicality
We have to take clarity, time and feasibility into account! I said it's quality over quantity! You should have one idea that works well and is easily performed. It has to be about the method. Furthermore, the experience, the participant's ability to connect to the task and your outcome are essential focuses. If you have a series of tasks in one session, it has to be correlated with continuity.
It is not a guessing game. Users should not be wondering " what am I supposed to do?" It should be like - how can I contribute? Participants should have to spend time figuring out the exercise. This way, it gives the participants more time to appreciate their input and value for the exercise. Value and self-worth is a critical component in organising group activities. We all need to be heard. Building importance for voices that are there to solve your question or help you gain insight, should be a priority.
Play more than presume
What you feel, they might not feel. What you think they might not believe. However, what you see, if your vision is clear, they will see it also. This will automatically allow the participants to think it, feel it and be immersive enough to see your experience. There always has to be an element of play. Can we be young at heart while being serious? I wanted people to have fun and enjoy the session. I wanted them to feel comfortable and yet ensure they leave with something memorable.
I have found in WWJ: A sense of community and connection during Covid-19. It was great to connect creative-minded individuals across the world to come together to share ideas where everyone is welcomed. I made a few great connections I now keep in touch with regularly since attending WWJs.
I have given to WWJ: A contributor as a co-creator inputting ideas about Creative Leadership and also sharing my side project Inclusive Pioneers inspired by WWJ. I plan to facilitate learning circles to co-create conversations about shaping a more inclusive culture.
I have learnt with WWJ: You shown it is possible to create and facilitate a safe space for creativity to happen without physical presence. You encouraged me to embrace playfulness, experimentation and permission to fail forwards in my work and life as a navigate this uncertain period.