We are a skill-building academy.  We specialize in Design Thinking education and empowerment, with which our founders have over 20 years of experience, many books published and thousands of graduate students worldwide. This means we are not here to sell you on our practice or on how smart we are. We are here to guide and equip you so that you can build your own design practice.
For our first dispatch of 2019, we’ve assembled enough Google Design goodies to put a spring in your step. Our roundup includes a big story on Waymo—exploring how the company’s designers built a brand new UX playbook to foster user trust; an artful interview with technologist John Maeda on agile leadership; and deep insights from UX Director Margaret Lee, who penned an essay on how her immigrant upbringing shaped her take on leadership. We also compiled a fresh selection of “5 Things to Love Right Now”—curated by San Francisco-based designer Shannon May. Dig in for a new bloom of insights and inspiration.Subscribe to the Google Design Newsletter
What I Find Noteworthy:  This appears to be AJ&Smart’s live in-person training ($3,500+) with all the tools, templates, and slides, but at half the price. The class teaches the latest 2018 version of the design sprint — the 4 day Design Sprint 2.0 created by AJ&Smart in partnership with Jake Knapp. This class just launched in May 2018 and seems perfect for anyone looking to get the full design sprint training experience from a top-tier design sprint firm, without having to travel or take time away from work. The training is very comprehensive, covering not only fundamentals of the design sprint, but also best practices/tools for selling-in sprints, advanced facilitation, and delivery of sprint results to leadership/clients. VERY compelling offering.
The course is totally self-paced and you can move through the materials at a pace you’re comfortable with. It’s our aim to make you Design Sprint-facilitation-ready as quickly as possible and we don’t want to waste your time with pointless exercises and tasks that don’t contribute to you becoming a confident facilitator, so we estimate that you can complete the course and be ready to facilitate your first Sprint within 2 weekends, without stress.
is one of the pioneers of Design Sprint methodology in Europe. Based in Switzerland, he works with startups and big companies in the regions of Lausanne (EPFL), Geneva and France. Passionate about digital, he has more than 15 years of experience in agencies, crafting website and designing apps. He will accompany you throughout the process: from idea to prototype.
IDEO typically uses lots of different research techniques to generate insights around the needs of people including, but not limited to, observation, interviewing, immersive empathy, and exploring extreme users. Generally, the types of research you can do fall into three buckets. Generative research helps identify new opportunities and explore needs. Evaluative research gathers feedback on experiments and helps you iterate forward. These two types of research are focused on the future and new ideas. Traditional market research is known as validating research—intended to understand what is currently happening. Balance your research approach to focus on what’s happening now and what could be in the future.
But the Design Sprint is not just about efficiency. It's also an excellent way to stop the old defaults of office work and replace them with a smarter, more respectful, and more effective way of solving problems that brings out the best contributions of everyone on the team—including the decision-maker—and helps you spend your time on work that really matters.
Are you a design professional working in the US? The 2019 Design Census needs your voice. Set aside 10 minutes to answer 38 questions and add your POV to the largest annual survey of the design industry. Created by Google and AIGA, the 2019 Design Census builds on previous findings to deliver a holistic picture of the design industry’s current state, and provide insight into the complex economic, social, and cultural factors shaping design practice. This year—to better reflect the changing field—there’s an added focus on design educators, agency designers, in-house designers, small business owners, and freelance workers.The survey opens today and closes May 1. The findings will be published on designcensus.org later this year and as always, all the data will be free to download and use for your own interpretations.Learn more and participate in the 2019 Design Census
We spend 45 minutes (tops) creating a passable map, which is easy enough by this point. In the book it takes half a day, but when it’s all built up like this you can do it in 45 minutes. You do NOT need longer to create a map that’s good enough. The Decider then chooses a target area on the map—and voilà! That’s Monday done in half a day. Time for lunch and a BIG coffee…
Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you’ll get clear data from a realistic prototype. The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.
“…the more I pondered the nature of design and reflected on my recent encounters with engineers, business people and others who blindly solved the problems they thought they were facing without question or further study, I realized that these people could benefit from a good dose of design thinking. Designers have developed a number of techniques to avoid being captured by too facile a solution. They take the original problem as a suggestion, not as a final statement, then think broadly about what the real issues underlying this problem statement might really be (for example by using the "Five Whys" approach to get at root causes). Most important of all, is that the process is iterative and expansive. Designers resist the temptation to jump immediately to a solution to the stated problem. Instead, they first spend time determining what the basic, fundamental (root) issue is that needs to be addressed. They don't try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called "Design Thinking."
Learn fast, fail fast. The sprint helps to obtain a clear vision of the goals upfront. It forces you to make critical decisions and solve complex problems fast. This means that you and your team can save months of design, engineering and development costs. The bonus? You’ll be able to get your product to market faster because you focussed on the right thing.

Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a ha...
The CEO and Co-Founder of Boston-Based User Experience Agency Fresh Tilled Soil, Richard wears the strategic hat around the office. He's worked his way up the web marketing food chain, starting with online ad sales at MultiChoice, Africa’s largest TV and Internet media business. Richard was in the thick of it during the heady dot-com years, founding Acceleration, an international e-marketing business headquartered in London. He has never met a whiteboard he didn't like.
While we assume you’re familiar with the original Design Sprint, here’s a quick recap: the Design Sprint is a five-day process to solve big problems and test ideas. A dedicated team discusses a challenge, designs potential solutions, and tests them with real users. You start with something vague, and finish with real feedback and something extremely tangible in just five days.
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