The Design Sprint, developed by the guys at Google Ventures (the venture capital investment arm of Alphabet, Google’s parent company), helps companies do just that, compressing even months of work into five quick-fire days. And we’re finding their approach extra helpful with our clients who are new to customer-driven development, and who might be unsure whether or not they want to commit everything to a project or idea long-term. With this Design Sprint, we’re enabling them to try things out on a smaller scale first, by dividing a project into smaller steps.
Many of its principles are already part of our way of working. But the GV Design Sprint provides a quick and controlled way of working that has proven results. The five-day process answers critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. It’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavioural science, design thinking, and more — packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
During the five-day Sprint, a team of up to seven people from the company get together to work through an important challenge. The purpose is to be able to make informed decisions about what to focus on (or not to focus on) next, by validating the ideas with relevant customers ‒ and to do this within a structured, time-boxed approach.
Find your focus First and foremost, it’s a great way to get an indication of what your organisation could focus on developing further. You’ll create alignment in your team and focus on one part of the agreed-upon problem. Challenges are formulated as opportunities, with sentences always beginning “How might we…?”. This creates a great foundation for ideation due to its positive, opportunity-focused mindset ‒ an important ingredient when developing innovative solutions.
Understand the customer-driven design process With a sprint, you’ll go through the elementary steps of a customer-driven design process, and even though you might not be the one facilitating it, you’ll develop a deep understanding of why every step in the process is crucial. This in turn can be used in any of your future projects.
Get to know the team We think it’s one of the best ways to get to know your team. Running a Design Sprint is intense. It takes commitment and focused work for 6 hours a day, five days in a row. Every activity is time-bound and facilitated. To guard against losing focus, mobile phones and computers can’t be used in the Sprint room. Working this way helps both the agency team and client team get to know each other’s way of working. By working together in a Sprint, you’ll not only create great trust in each other and a solid bond for future co-operation, but also a common vision for the road ahead.
Get to meet real customers We often embed ourselves in organisations to get to know as much as we can about how it works. But if you typically work at your organisation’s headquarters, you probably don’t meet your actual customers very often. This is one of the things we love about the Design Sprint; despite the tight schedule, you also get to test out your prototypes with real customers. Seeing your idea through the eyes of your customers is often a real eye opener!
Prototyping Even prototyping is possible. During the prototyping day, all your thoughts and ideas will be visualized in a hi-fi prototype of “just enough” quality to evoke true reactions among the users who test it. You’ll add details to the level where it just feels real and stop there, without adding any extras. If the user needs align with your prototype, you’re now one step closer to a real project – and all in just five days.
Contact us for how we can facilitate your own Design Sprint, and check out Google Venture’s website for more info on how it all works.
Digitalisation, globalisation and changing customer needs… We share 5 customer centric digital innovations from a retail landscape in rapid change.