The Jam Cards are quite open-ended and don’t really need specific instructions on how to use them. This means that the Jam Cards can be used to shape your own exercises and workshops, which is fun but might be confusing as well.
To help you to get an idea on how to play with them, we explain in this blog post, with use of three variations, what your Jam Card session could look like: Serendipity Lab, Mix & Match, Strategy Jam.
SERENDIPITY LAB | SOLO
Improvise like a jazz musician
Serendipity Lab is played alone and is about being open to the unexpected. You could do this by taking some quality time at home or the office. We also think that this might be a great exercise for the start of a workshop because in a workshop you often don’t have private time and have to immediately react to others. Also, we believe that doing the Serendipity Lab prior to doing Mix and Match or Strategy Jam might be beneficial. Because the Serendipity Lab helps you to open up and to get familiar with the Jam Cards.
Start a Serendipity Lab session by flipping through the Jam Cards and picking out a few cards that for example appeal to you – or are most interesting, exciting, disturbing, boring or resonating. Now take a closer look at the cards that you picked. Put on headphones and listen to the sonic triggers by scanning the Spotify codes.
Go on a sonic safari and be open for the unexpected. What do the things you find on the cards mean to you? Can you find patterns in the set of cards you picked? Make notes about your findings.
We made a template for you that you can use during your Serendipity Lab session:
Download the Serendipity Lab template
You might also use a blank sheet or your sketchbook or notebook. Maybe make a dedicated one for the Jam Cards?
MIX AND MATCH | DUO
Play like a DJ
You can play Mix and Match together with a partner and share your likes and dislikes, insights, and create a journey or story together. It’s about empathy and collaboration and making a collection that makes sense to both of you.
Working in a larger group?
When you’re with a larger group you could start Mix and Match by putting as many Jam Cards on the table as people present. From the cards, on the table, everybody picks a card that appeals to them and explores the card for a few minutes and making notes before putting it back on the table. When everybody put their card back on the table, everybody picks a new card that does not appeal to them and also explores this card for a few minutes. Make notes.
After exploring the card that doesn’t appeal to you, team up with a person who picked the same card in this or in the previous round. Explain to each other why you picked the card and discuss this together. Can you understand why the other person picked the card?
After you discussed the card with each other, find up to four complementing Jam Cards that you can tell a story with that is worth sharing.
We made a template for you that you can use during the session.
Download the Mix and Match booklet
STRATEGY JAM | ENSEMBLE
Think like a composer
Strategy Jam is played together with a group and is about making new connections. It works best when you already have a design challenge or theme that you would like to work on.
If not start the Strategy Jam with your group by picking a cue and its corresponding cue question. These cue questions can be found at the inside of the Jam Cards booklet. Now make additions to this cue question and/or come up with a challenge by yourself. Put the cue card in the middle of the table and sort out the inspiration cards that have the cue highlighted. Put the other inspiration cards aside. Now everybody picks one (or more) inspiration cards and explores those cards for a few minutes.
After everybody explored their cards one person starts by putting his/her inspiration card next to the cue card on the table. Then he/she explains how this card connects to the chosen challenge. Now the next person puts his/her inspiration card next to the previous card on the table and explains how this card connects to the previous card. Use both sides of the jam cards, also share the music that is on the card and see how this resonates with the group and possible new associations.
As an extra you can use post-it notes ‘as connectors’ between the jam cards:
– CONNECT: How the card connects
– CONVERGE: New ideas that pop up
– DIVERGE: New questions and possibilities that arise
This is a poster that you can use as a guide during the session:
Download the Strategy Jam poster
Feel free to experiment and develop your own rules
These are just a few examples on how you could play with the Jam Cards, but feel free to make your own variations and rules. We are curious to hear about how you use the Jam Cards!
Photos in this blog post were taken during the Creative Leadership Platform meetup at the Design Thinkers Academy.