My Design Jam Experiences

Yesterday, I joined the Munich Design Jam for the second time. Last time, hosted at IXDS Munich, I created an Alexa skill prototype for social and educational cooking with a team of strangers. This time the topic was Microsoft Hololens-assisted furniture assembly for millennials. Organized and lead by Rachel and Johannes and their team, it was once again an enriching and fun experience. The event was kindly hosted by Vectorform’s Munich office.

A Design What?

What the heck is a Design Jam you ask? Here is the official definition from the organizer’s website:

A Design Jam is a one-day event that brings together Designers, Developers and Entrepreneurs, to solve a problem and build a prototype in just 10 hours (or so). Each Jam’s theme will be announced on the morning of, for maximum excitement.

Unlike last time, I knew most of my team. It consisted of my brother Thies, my fiance Tina, and Yuliya who joined our team as a second designer.

Eight Minutes, Eight Ideas

A Design Jam is run on a tight schedule. Every task has a time limit, and those limits are challenging! After all, you have about 8 to 10 hours to create a presentation and a prototype, involving a technology you may have never heard of or touched before.

Our first task was to come up with eight different ideas regarding the problem of furniture assembly in eight minutes. That sounds harder than it is, once you started the flow, new ideas won’t stop coming to mind. Maybe that’s the reason for the time limit. πŸ€”

Once we had our ideas noted down, we explained them to each other in our group and voted on them using sticker dots.

Everyone then had to pick one idea and spend a couple of minutes elaborating it. Most of us picked an idea that wasn’t our own but from another team member and that we have found interesting.

We presented our elaborated ideas to each other and totally blew the two-minute time limit we had for that. 😜

Categorizing Ideas

Then we had to place our ideas on a value and effort matrix, which invoked some discussion and took as slightly longer than expected. The most interesting quarter of the matrix is the target quarter. That are ideas which are expected to provide the customer with high value and require little effort to develop or implement. We voted once again, this time on all ideas from within the target quarter. To make things more challenging, we landed a tie between an idea involving QR codes and an augmented reality disassembly guide. We could not break the tie, so we went with combining these two ideas into one, which gladly worked out. πŸ‘

Earn Your Pizza

The host ordered plenty of pizzas for everyone and just as they were delivered we finished with our tagline. It reads QRreconstruct - sustainable furniture that follows you! You can read from the tagline that we are (a) not native English speakers and (b) were starving. I wish we had found a better tagline but on the other hand, we were really exhausted by the work we had done so far. Funny, how easy it is to compromise when the smell of delicious pizza is in the air! πŸ˜‚

Prototyping!

After lunch and networking, we started prototyping and creating our presentation. Johannes used the afternoon to go from team to team and give everyone the chance to experience the Hololens themselves. He and the other organizers also checked our progress regularly and advised us when needed.

Our team decided to shoot a video explaining the app and a typical use case. Although scratching on the upper end of the definition of millennial, I was chosen to star in our awesome video. 😬

Presentation And Party!

In the late afternoon, it was time for all teams to wrap it up and deliver their presentations. This is usually the best part of a Design Jam and this time was no exception. The creativity level in the room was cranked up to 11 πŸ˜‰and we had some good fun with the entertaining and convincing presentations that were delivered.

We spent the rest of the evening having some beer and interesting conversations about this and that and of course technology.

I recommend attending a Design Jam to everyone who likes designing and prototyping!