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What is a Design Sprint?

12 October 2019 • Article

sdsds Design is transforming business. According to a McKinsey report, businesses that utilise design well see almost double in revenue share and return to shareholders. According to an inVision report, design can also increase a business's time to market, competitor differentiation and brand lift. While there’s no single way to lead with design, it requires strategic design thinking. That is the engine behind massive growth in design-led companies today.

The problem is building a great design culture is really difficult. It requires experienced designers and lot of investment. Futhermore, the return of that investment can be slow as trying to get design to permeate all parts of your organisation can be arduous and messy. What you need is battle-tested, formula for great innovation. Before you invest huge amounts of time and money in design, you need a framework that your whole business can plug into. This is the ‘Design Sprint’.

The Design Sprint is a step-by-step process for developing great ideas to critical business questions through design, prototyping, and validation. It utilizes Design Thinking practices into a easy to follow recipe. You can get more done in less time without all the chaos and confusion.

The Design Sprint is essentially a 4 day workshop compressing important design & innovation work together. The goal is to sort through the noise and find an idea to test and validate in under a week. On Day 1 we work in together to define the challenges and scope of the week. Day 2 is about deciding what challenges to prototype. Day 3 is about rapidly building the high fidelity prototype, which is then tested with real users on Day 4.

Design Sprint Workshop

The outcome of your Design Sprint is to create a realistic prototype of your innovative idea. We do this so we can test with real customers, getting the feedback that matters most. This can cut through a lot of uncertainty and gets right to the core of answering those huge business questions looming over your team.

Once you have your customer insights, you now have a workable set of next step. Maybe you need to tweak the idea a little. Maybe you can go straight into fleshing this out for production. Maybe you need to go back to the drawing board. The answers you have at the end of the week are actionable. You've not wasted much time at all if you have to make a pivot.

I've ran loads and loads of Design Sprints. I first came across the practice when reading the book ‘Sprint’ by Jake Knapp, a design and investor at Google Ventures. He created the Design Sprint with his colleagues to try and maximize all his design practice into as short a time possible so they could work with more startups that they had invested in. The Design Sprint changed the way I approached design work. It takes all the practices, tips and tricks I already knew and cut out the back and forth. It focused on moving quickly and getting results, rather than spending weeks going down tangents.

Innovation can be messy. It can go back and forth in tedious meetings, slow requirement gathering & you can struggle to know if all your ideas have market feasibility. The Design Sprint is really effective to keep your team focused on one goal. I've seen it align teams who before had no agreement where to go. I've seen it revitalize a dead product. I've seen teams stumble on million-pound ideas within a week. The Design Sprint isn't a magic fix all, it's tried and tested Design work managed effectively.

If you want to take your product team to the next level. If you want to find that innovative idea that's going to drive breakout success in your company. You need the Design Sprint.

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