Do you think we can change the future of Charlotte in 48 hours?
A group of committed Charlotteans believes that yes, it can be done. And they’re looking for passionate citizens to come together, break down divides, and co-create solutions to the city’s most pressing issues in the area of digital inclusion.
During the weekend of March 18-19-20, Digital Charlotte and Wethinknext will host the city’s first Best Minds #CityJamCLT. The event’s goal is to harness energy from the community in an effort to identify challenges and solutions to bridge the digital divide.
Who is Behind This Event?
Digital Charlotte, of course, is an initiative managed by the Knight School of Communication at Queens to serve citizens in ways that help everyone take full advantage of digital tools. This website is a part of the initiative, as are programs, workshops and events designed to strengthen levels of digital literacy.
Wethinknext is a global innovation agency with the mission of changing the future. The organization is focused on building communities and networks, and connecting people around specific social issues. Wethinknext uses Service Design Thinking to approach problems and issues, and brings together the appropriate stakeholders to design sustainable solutions. Its simple goal: improving the world we live in.
What is a CityJam?
A CityJam solves complex, interconnected civic problems by focusing on and bringing together the citizens most affected by these problems in their day-to-day lives. A CityJam uses a human-centered design method to generate creative solutions. A CityJam typically takes place during a weekend, when teams will organically form, engage thoughtfully, and build innovative approaches and solutions. The outcome is a viable, future-focused prototype — or prototypes — that simultaneously meet the needs of the community as well as existing business requirements.
Why Do a CityJam?
The March 18-20 event gives Charlotte residents the opportunity to identify issues and collaborate on solutions using human-centered design and design thinking processes. The event is designed to encourage innovation, and even more importantly, to create innovators. The event organizers believe that Charlotte residents deserve and desire spaces where they can come together to do this important work, and hope that #CityJamCLT will help Charlotte residents make the increasingly important connections needed between all types of organizations and the people affected by their products and services.
Why Should I Participate?
As a participant in CityJam, citizens will work through a whole design process in one weekend. Regardless of whether participants are experienced, or completely new to the field, they will not just be talking about service design — they will be working with others to develop concrete ideas and designs that could become real. CityJam participants will play an integral role in shaping Charlotte for the future.
Who Can Participate?
Any and everybody can participate. The event requires that a good mix of people from throughout the community are in the room. Participants do not have to be “designers” to jam. Human-centered design and design thinking are processes and tools that anyone can use for innovative, creative problem-solving — regardless of job title or skill level. Everybody — and nobody — is an ‘expert.’
Can I Attend Just One Day?
Teams use the entire weekend to research, prepare concepts, prototype, and test their ideas. It’s therefore best to be an engaged member of a team formed during the weekend, and to attend all three days. Event organizers realize that people have family and work obligations, so arriving a bit late or departing a bit early — or stepping out for a few hours — is OK. People who cannot make the entire weekend, but who want a taste of the jam, might consider getting involved as a volunteer.
What Is a Prototype?
A prototype can be anything that makes the experience of a proposed service solution real and tangible. It could be the artifacts a customer would use as a part of the service. City Jam participants start the weekend with tons and tons (and tons) of post-it notes, they end the weekend with a fully-realized service. They might act out a skit, make a video, or create a whole new world from cardboard.
What Do Participants Do?
- Learn more about a design-based approach to problems, and about sustainability.
- Pick up a load of new ideas and work practices.
- Meet cool people at all levels of experience.
- Get their work reviewed by peers.
- Present to the community, and by people who can make these ideas real.
- Design a solution that can become real.
- Become rich and famous. Possibly.
- Have a blast.