The CBi office was destroyed by a TORNADO!

innovation | co-creation workshop | sustainable design

Global Sustainability Jam 2013 - Shanghai, China

"It is awesome to figure out such excellent concepts and projects in just 48 hours ! "
Don Norman

The CBi office was destroyed by a TORNADO! A tornado of creativity, that is. On Nov. 22-24, for 48 hours the force of 42 creative and passionate people from widely different backgrounds converged at the CBi offices, diverged into teams, threw around ideas off one another -- and built on what bounced back.

Together they created not only a huge mess –- but also, brand-new, real-world designs, projects and initiatives that will have positive impact on planet earth.


This was all part of the 2013 Global Sustainability Jam: one of the world’s biggest non-profit innovation events. This year 1000 Jammers in 60 Cities simultaneously created 233 innovative and sustainable projects.

So, yeah, you missed an active and empowering weekend at this year’s Sustainability Jam (more on what you missed below)… but don’t worry! There’s another chance to join the dynamic-whirlwind-of-innovation! This March, CBi will be hosting the Global Service Jam! You are welcome to join us if you’re interested in challenging yourself, you want to develop creative ideas, and most importantly –- you want to meet super-cool new people!.

What you missed
This year’s Sustainability Jam’s theme was decidedly cryptic: AB3. Not much was springing to mind initially for our Jammers. But fear not! Fabulous mentors and inspiring speakers joined us to help jammers get the creative ball rolling. Thought leaders from business, sustainability, medicine and design were invited to share their innovative experience and insights with jammers. The jammers then brainstormed among themselves and divided up into four groups based on four main ideas. These ideas then morphed throughout the weekend to become the final four projects you’ll see below.

While we did pull all-nighters like in our college days, and found ourselves frantically scrambling to make the last-minute deadlines for the final prototypes. Believe it or not, we also had lots of fun! We played silly games, wore funny hats and even had a couple of dance parties in the middle of the mayhem!.

What was the outcome of the Jam? Here below are some intros to the projects.

The Group, Boom 6, identified the problem that our current consumption rate is increasing beyond what is sustainable for the planet. Why is this? Modern culture, convenience/ease, social status/interaction, and our entire economy counts on consumption. Buying less is not cool, saving is viewed as stingy, and sustainability is definitely not sexy. People don't like being told what to do and be educated to change our ways -- especially when it is vague and difficult to do. Boom6’s task is to change mainstream perception and make it cool to consume less by creating a mobile app called “Less”. The app helps you to record your various sustainable actions during the day -- using your own bag for purchases at the market, using your own reusable cup in the café, and purchasing second-hand goods. All these actions help you to accrue points that you can share with your friends and get discounts at participating retailers.

Frog Sandwich Restaurant
Our second group understood AB3 as Parents and 3rd Generation. They identified that the current generation doesn’t put emphasis on home cooking. Their idea, Frog Sandwich Restaurant, is a shared kitchen space. The restaurant would give young professionals a place to meet others, learn about cooking, and about healthy and sustainable ingredients. Frog Sandwich gives their guests a chance to break out of the habit of leaving work, and eating unhealthy takeout in front of the computer. The restaurant offers a chance to learn new skills, make healthy lifestyle changes, and have actual social interaction, instead of just social media.

Qi Day
The group behind Qi Day created an event to provide access to green energy and technology for Shangainese. In recent years, Shanghai has suffered from heavy air pollution, so the jammers in this group would like to provide access to green energy and technology for the local population; Qi (air + energy) Day provide new trends to increase the air quality by reducing the overconsumption. It creates the opportunity to rethink the future.

The group of A.B.L.E.^3 described the AB3 as A Bee's Learning Eco Educational Experience. This rural agricultural and educational activity will help educate the China’s urban youth about the concepts of sustainability and resource limits. Kids will learn farming techniques and gain understanding of just how long it takes to actually create food. Of course, it’s a summer camp so ‘fun’ is the most crucial element! When the kids return to the city, they will be able to communicate these experiences with their fellow students, families, and teachers. This activity will help to create a generation of socially-conscious consumers.

In just 48 hours, each of the groups were able to take the spark of an idea and turn it into a feasible business model. Well done! Don Norman, global design guru, co-founder and principal of Nielsen Norman Group, said: “It is awesome to figure out such excellent concepts and projects in just 48 hours!”

Todd Embley, program director at China-Axlr8r, was so awestruck by one of the project he said: “I like this project so much I will give you free office space and access to my resources until February to continue working on it!”

“The Jam was a great event because it somehow managed to blend intense passion and concentration with silliness and pointlessness. It also allowed me to prove to myself how much can be done in a short time if you really “empty the tank” and leave no spare time to waste.” – Scott Lenkowsky, Jammer

As the organizer of Jam in Shanghai, China Bridge President Cathy Huang said, “We have supported the Jam for three years. We are building a free communication platform for all creative powers. We are working to share the knowledge and power of co-creation and design activities”

All global results are posted on the global organizer’s website . Take a look at our photo stream to experience the fun and feverish atmosphere.

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