Eli Wood

I organize a monthly meetup where designers gather in community, prototype solutions to a nonprofit’s challenges, and then give that back to the organization. This meetup started out of a desire for community service and to approach design with a seriously fun attitude.

What is the Design Jam?

The purpose of the Design Jam is for people to gather and to work on design problems for the sake of practice and helping out nonprofits. Imagine a group of friends were to find out they have a shared interest in music and all play instruments. The next time they gathered, there is no doubt that they would bring their instruments and jam out. That jam would be full of improvisation, laughter, and energy. This is what we aim to do with the Design Jam.

Hermans Hermits are the mascots of the Design Jam meetup.

What should I expect when I attend a Design Jam?

Designers can grow and explore during this time. There are no prerequisites. Nonprofit collaborators should leave with assets and ideas they can continue to run with. The community is strengthened by new connections and common interests. 

Why are you organizing the Design Jam?

Sometimes working as a designer can become a bit monotonous. A designer’s focus is very curated, which benefits business, but does not afford diverse personal growth.

Interaction Designers spend their time focusing on product details. UX Designers are focused on a broad picture and services design. Design Engineers are implementing nuanced solutions. Architectural designers are highly specialized in the built environment. The one underlying thread in these disciplines is that they are problem-solvers. I believe that we should apply that problem-solving nature to real problems while also honing our craft as designers.

Can I come to the Design Jam if I’m not a designer?

Yes, and invite your friends. We are a diverse and inclusive meetup that is welcoming of all people and disciplines. The exercises are structured to teach you how to use design thinking for a specific problem. These tools can be applied to all professions and aspects of daily life as well. Ask me how I make shopping lists.