Tool: Circuit Breakers
How do they work: Circuit Breakers are used to disrupt no–fun situations. A circuit breaker can be any number of things, such as:
- A fun interlude or distraction.
- Facilitated resolution—have the Jam Doctor or another Jammer mediate a resolution. Who can be an expert to solve a question/problem a team works on?
- Role reversal/mirroring —get each person to present the other persons point of view.
- Third party critiques—have other jammers offer appraisals, advice or make a decision.
- Tools like the Nudge Cards on the Organisers’ Basecamp platform.
- Props such as wigs, funny hats or rubber chickens can lighten the mood and remind Jammers that we are here to Jam…
- Jam Roulette—swap a problem person out of their group and into another to see if their behaviour improves.
- Changing the environment/rotating facilities, even just a few minutes of fresh air or offering a playful ‘hands on activity’ in between can help getting different perspectives on something.
- Encourage the team to stop talking and start doing. They should leave the verbal channel and find a way to solve differences by doing—either by testing ideas, of finding a playful way to decide.
- Ask about the ‘+’ and ‘–’ of ideas to find out where the thoughts lead to.
- Find the three best aspects on what you last worked on to carry on…
- A red card—if all else fails, you should ask the problem person to leave the jam—ask for positive achievements the teams already made.
When: make sure circuit breakers are used when the incident is occurring. Delayed responses can seem out of context and confusing for everyone.
Role: Jam Doctor (dedicated)
Description: the Jam Doctor keeps their eyes and ears peeled for signs of trouble. Their job is move about, chat and interact with jammers so they know what’s going on with and help keep things running smoothly. The Jam Doctor should be friendly but not intrusive, inquisitive but not annoying… much like a good family doctor. For larger jams especially, having a person dedicated to this role is invaluable.
Role: Jam News Reporter (part–time or dedicated)
Description: the Jam News Reporter helps keep the atmosphere positive and focussed by keeping the Jammers in touch with other Jams around the world. He or she will pass on cool or inspiring news and ideas from other Jams (gathered from the Jam Newswall, Twitter, Facebook or other channels) and also make sure that the cool things happening in your Jam get reported globally on those channels.
Summary: have fun yourself!
Be actively aware and tuned–in to what is happening at your Jam. It’s important that everyone has the chance to enjoy themselves and the opportunity to express themselves freely—dedicated role: Jam Doctor
Increase people’s fun by keeping them in touch with the Global Jam—dedicated role: Jam News Reporter
It is important not to let dominant, aggressive or self–assigned ‘experts’ ruin the experience for other people—tool: Personality Profiling —see also Team and Group Formation
Intervene if you have to. Tense situations don’t tend to resolve themselves quickly, if at all. Be prepared to intervene, diffuse and address things as they occur—dedicated role: Jam Doctor
Enlist the help of funny people. Humour is a great ‘circuit breaker’ and is often the best way to diffuse tense situations and disarm dominant people—tool: Circuit Breakers.