Define, Ideate, Validate
We offer Design Sprints through our sister site: Design Sprint Consultants!
What is a Design Sprint?
Originally created by Jake Knapp and the team at Google Ventures (now known simply as GV), a Design Sprint is a structured process designed to help teams work through problems, ideate solutions, and test them with customers… all in 5 days! By investing one week to focus as a team, you can save months of work brainstorming, planning, building, and marketing. You’ll be able to get a prototype in front of your customers fast, and see if your idea has legs. The exercises in a Sprint are explicitly designed to minimize the back-and-forth conversation and debate that are often present in a traditional group brainstorm.
During this 5 day process, a cross-functional team comes together to:
Clarify and define the problem at hand,
Brainstorm collaboratively and explore the breadth of possible solutions,
Distill ideas together to 1-2 directions,
Prototype the solution utilizing people and resources on hand,
Test the prototype with the people who would use it to make sure you are on the right path before investing months of time and resources to launch publicly.
A variety of well-known companies and startups have used the Design Sprint process to help them execute quickly and pivot with purpose on their way to success, including: Uber, Slack, Blue Bottle Coffee, Flatiron Health, Airbnb, and more.
Who can benefit?
The Design Sprint process can prove beneficial for any team looking to solve a problem, design a new product or service offering, or test an idea to prove its impact on their business. We have conducted Sprints focused on everything from technology and product/service development to logos and marketing ideas to company and product naming.
While originally created to help small teams learn and iterate quickly, Design Sprints aren’t limited to startups and technology companies. This framework can prove invaluable for teams in any size organization. For example, we have seen great success implementing Design Sprints to help corporate teams think entrepreneurially and move fast. By gathering concrete feedback from real users, the outcome of the Sprint process can provide stakeholders with the demonstrable evidence necessary to champion their ideas within a large organization.
What can I expect?
While the Sprint itself is scheduled over a 1-week period (preferably a continuous Monday through Friday schedule), we will work with you over roughly 3 weeks.
Week 1+: During the week or two prior to the scheduled Sprint, the Facilitator will work with you and key stakeholders to manage the preparation process and answer any questions you may have in order to set expectations for the Sprint week.
Week 2: This is a typical schedule for the Sprint week. During the week of the Sprint, the Facilitator will be involved throughout the duration of the Sprint process to moderate the Sprint exercises and activities, guiding the participants through the week’s activities and offering insight and expertise to the team.
Morning: Discuss and map the problem. Outline challenges and opportunities.
Afternoon: Interviews with internal and external stakeholders.
Morning: Solutions demos; Select an area of focus.
Afternoon: Ideation & Sketching
Morning: Review and vote on presented solutions; Decide on ideas to be tested.
Afternoon: Storyboard the selected ideas in preparation for prototyping.
Morning: Work as a team to prototype the selected solutions (possibly with outside help).
Afternoon: Finalize Prototypes; Dry run of user testing.
Morning: User testing solutions with ~5 customers/key users.
Afternoon: Continue user testing; Discuss/define next steps.
Week 3: In the week following the Sprint, the facilitator will create a recap document that captures the Sprint process followed during the previous week (on a day-by-day basis) as well as all of the collateral and ideas generated by the participants. This will be delivered to you as reference material and may provide the foundation for future Sprint activities. We will also be available for one or two follow-up calls to discuss next steps and help your team prepare to move forward based on the learnings from our Sprint.
Alternative & Iterative Sprint Formats
While a “standard” Design Sprint process follows the 5-day schedule outlined above, we do have experience conducting shorter Design Sprints as either stand-alone workshops or as a continuation of an initial 5-day process. We’re happy to work with you to solve your needs. Some options include:
3-Day, Solutions-Oriented Design Sprint: During this shortened Sprint process, we focus our energies on understanding the core problem and outlining potential solutions. By the end of this 3-day process, clients will be in a position to champion solutions internally for user testing or development.
1-Day, Immersion Session: This one-day work session is designed to align core stakeholders around a clear articulation of the problem at hand, leaving little room for debate or disagreement around the core customer segments and/or opportunities that the team should focus on in order to move forward.
Iterative Design Sprints: At the end of a 5-day Sprint, user testing should offer a clear indication of the efficacy of the prototyped solution. Often, responses from user testing will align to other solutions proposed during the Sprint (but not explored) and/or spur ideas for iterative changes. A truncated Sprint process can be utilized to iterate or expand upon these solutions for further testing, providing clearer feedback and direction around how to best move forward.
Why hire us for a Design Sprint?
We can help make your sprint a success.
Even after you've read the Sprint book, pored over the checklists, and watched dozens of videos, carrying a Design Sprint from concept to execution is a daunting task. Planning a Sprint is a time-consuming process requiring experience and coordination. Once you've planned, leading a Sprint team through daily exercises and coming out the other end with actionable learnings is equally challenging. You'll have to read your audience, think on the fly, and guide your team through an arduous process that changes every time you do it.
An experienced and impartial Design Sprint Facilitator can make the difference between burning a week of your team's valuable time and using that time wisely to achieve tangible results. We have the knowledge and experience to know when to encourage a team to dig deeper and when to table a discussion for later consideration. We also have a deep background in design, technology, and marketing — expertise that can prove invaluable during the Sprint process as teams debate how to best bring solutions to life.
You can learn more about our experience running Design Sprints & Immersion Days and hear from Design Sprint clients on the Design Sprint Consultants site.
Convinced? Ready to run a Sprint with your team (or at least learn more about how we can help)?
Reach out to schedule a conversation and learn how we can help you conduct a successful Design Sprint with your team.