The “Design Sprint” is one of the fastest trending innovation and design thinking approaches I’ve seen in the past decade. It is now a part of our language to describe a specific kind of innovation session. This design sprint training article shares an overview of the process and resources you can use throughout. The design sprint concept has been made famous by Google Ventures in the book Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz. It is a 5 day approach with specific activities each day of the week and each part of the day. I like it because it is something fun to learn and experience with a design sprint training workshop. The design sprint process seems like a combination of design thinking, lean startup, and agile for an approach to innovation that is rapid. You may have already heard about the Sprint book and the 5 day approach. BUT, did you know that there is also a 3 day design sprint kit from Google as well?
Day 3 sees us kick off prototyping, and we do this pretty much exactly as stated in the book, so nothing new to report here. It’s noise-cancelling-headphones-on mode for our resident Prototyper, and we’ll have a couple of huddles throughout the day to make sure we’re all on track. We’ll also update the client at the end of the day to keep them involved and show them what we’ve been doing throughout the day.
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…
Design sprints can help prevent you from building the wrong thing even when your customers say it’s the right thing. Larissa Levine, from the Advisory Board Company, believes that a design sprint is successful if it guides you toward building the right product feature. As she explains, “Product marketing wants to sell this one feature and says, ‘let’s build XYZ because we heard that the user said they wanted XYZ,’ when actually, that’s not the problem at all. They think they want XYZ, but it’s not it at all. So you end up building the wrong thing.”
On Wednesday, you and your team created a storyboard. On Thursday, you’ll adopt a “fake it” philosophy to turn that storyboard into a prototype. A realistic façade is all you need to test with customers, and here’s the best part: by focusing on the customer-facing surface of your product or service, you can finish your prototype in just one day. On Thursday, you’ll also make sure everything is ready for Friday’s test by confirming the schedule, reviewing the prototype, and writing an interview script.
It’s often difficult for us humans to challenge our assumptions and everyday knowledge, because we rely on building patterns of thinking in order to not have to learn everything from scratch every time. We rely on doing everyday processes more or less unconsciously — for example, when we get up in the morning, eat, walk, and read — but also when we assess challenges at work and in our private lives. In particular, experts and specialists rely on their solid thought patterns, and it can be very challenging and difficult for experts to start questioning their knowledge.
In our case we had a 3rd party standing by to translate our sketches into finished layouts. And while this was convenient and easy for us, it is super important for people to get their hands dirty, and build whatever they’re going to test, for themselves! It teaches the importance of being specific and detailed, it shows how new issues emerge during such a process, and it provides first-hand experience of how easy it actually is to create a “just-real-enough-to-test” facade of an artefact.
What I Find Noteworthy:  Although I’ve never met or seen Jake live, I’ve heard from others and seen on YouTube that he is a very engaging speaker and a wonderful educator. You can also rest assured that he’s always on the cutting-edge of design sprints and has accumulated a wealth of useful stories and experiences that aren’t in his book. This has been a bit of a bucket-list experience for me; just need him to come to my city.

During the four-week boot camp, we present a balance of theory and practice aimed to build up your confidence and set you up to run (and sell) your own Design Sprints. Get ready to deep dive in one of our rich scenarios and design solutions using our unique canvas-to-canvas approach. This approach was designed to make your experience learning about Design Sprint a smooth sailing one. You can take as much time as you want to go through the Boot camp, usually students complete the course in two months. That being said, it is possible to finish the core-program in just one month. Here is a suggested breakdown structure for that.

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.


“Monday’s structured discussions create a path for the sprint week. In the morning, you’ll start at the end and agree to a long-term goal. Next, you’ll make a map of the challenge. In the afternoon, you’ll ask the experts at your company to share what they know. Finally, you’ll pick a target: an ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week.”
Design Sprints started at Google to spark collaborative creativity, solve complex business problems and reduce the risk of failure when launching a new product to the market. Since the Sprint book came out in 2016, Design Sprints have become widely adopted globally by companies as a tool for innovation and problem-solving and one of the most hyped processes around.
Each design sprint will have its own needs and idiosyncrasies, and you’ll have to determine up front what’s best for your project. Any good design-thinking process might help identify the real problem in each of these cases. What makes the design sprint approach more effective is the structured, time-constrained framework, along with the appropriate exercises. This will force the team to make decisions and validate ideas faster than most methodologies.

Our mentors are seasoned Sprint Masters with vast experience in running Design Sprints all around the globe. They are thought leaders and professionals coming from different backgrounds. They carry the Sprint Master Certification and are also certified by institutions like the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) and other renown User Experience educational groups worldwide.

You might use a design sprint to start a new cycle of updates, expanding on an existing concept or exploring new ways to use an existing product. For example, we worked with a marketing data company that realized the data it gathered might be useful to other market segments. Building a prototype gave the team the validation it needed and prompted a deeper investment into that product segment, which ultimately was rewarded with a significant increase in sales.
Einstein was certainly right — we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. In addition, with the rapid changes in society, the methods we have previously used to solve many of the problems we face are no longer effective. We need to develop new ways of thinking in order to design better solutions, ser...

“Monday’s structured discussions create a path for the sprint week. In the morning, you’ll start at the end and agree to a long-term goal. Next, you’ll make a map of the challenge. In the afternoon, you’ll ask the experts at your company to share what they know. Finally, you’ll pick a target: an ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week.”

Design Sprints were once thought to be the exclusive province of startups and small organizations, but that is simply not the case. To the contrary, we are seeing massive organizations, public enterprises and government agencies rack up successes using this time-boxed method to overcome design and product roadblocks. Many of their stories are captured in the new book Enterprise Design Sprintsby Richard Banfield.
No special previous knowledge is required. The Design Sprint Master course builds on the Google Ventures Framework and Jake Knapp's SPRINT book. It is further developed by drawing on our trainers' experience of many sprints in large and small businesses. Although reading SPRINT is not a prerequisite, it will  offer advantages in being better prepared for the individual steps of the process.
What does it take to build a great AR experience? That’s the question we asked ourselves when creating a new augmented reality app for MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress). To celebrate Android’s annual Partner Walk scavenger hunt, we put an AR-spin on what’s become a beloved tradition. Rather than search for enamel pins as in years past, the app prompted attendees to roam the event collecting life-sized animated AR characters, further enhancing the experience and improving engagement.As you think about how AR can help you with your next design project, we wanted to share some things we learned from building this experience and watching people use it in the wild.Download the app to try it for yourself, and read on for our tips.1. Test your assumptionsA seemingly simple interaction of “scanning” a floor decal and looking up to see an entertaining 3D animation is surprisingly difficult. Breaking down this user interaction, it actually includes a lot of parts—like the physical design of the decal, all the 2D UI, and all the 3D AR elements. We discovered that people continued to look at the floor decal unless there were multiple AR elements, like an animated dotted line, to assist the user to pan their camera phone up.2. Make it usefulThe pin hunt gives attendees a goal to find all the partner booths in the cavernous halls of the MWC conference. As we thought about the AR companion to that experience, the problem became clear: How do we point the person to the next partner booth? This question is one that AR is uniquely equipped to solve. We took some lessons from Google Maps to help us design the scavenger hunt’s AR elements. We made each floor decal unique; scanning one would tell users where they are in the Android Partner Walk, and enable us to point them to uncollected pins nearby.3. Bring delightIt was awesome to see MWC attendees’ smiles and surprise when collecting their AR Android pins. These were people in business suits, roaming the show floor between meetings, engaged with a collection experience where they were willing to walk long distances to complete the challenge. We put a lot of care in developing the 21 fully-animated 3D scenes and were glad people enjoyed them.4. Be responsiveOne of our biggest worries was a user pointing their camera at the floor decal and it either 1) not triggering at all or 2) unresponsive for an unacceptable amount of time. Anything over two seconds starts to make users question whether they have done something wrong or whether the app is buggy—both are poor user experiences. Related to responsiveness, we also felt that these AR collection interactions should be short and sweet. We wanted the attendees to see a delightful Android, collect it, and quickly orient to the next booth to visit: all in under 30 seconds.5. Learn from your mistakesLike any project, once it’s in the wild, you realize some things should have been done differently. One lesson is that we should’ve made the floor decals much larger. When placed next to our office desks, they seemed huge, but when placed in the Fira Barcelona conference hall, they looked quite tiny. Lesson learned! For future projects, we’ll be sure to test physical elements onsite.You don’t have to have attended MWC to experience this app for yourself. Download it now on your ARCore-compatible device and play around with placing the animated AR pins anywhere you like.By design director Joshua To and designer Steve Toh of Google AR/VR
Lastly, a design sprint can stop you from building any product at all. Marc Guy, CEO of Faze1, also went through a design sprint at the InnoLoft. The sprint made him realize his company needed to stop building a product and instead go out and talk to customers. Mind blown, product invalidated! The business model has shifted significantly since then, as it subsequently focused on customer development. In fact, C. Todd didn’t see Marc or his team in the InnoLoft much after their design sprint. They were all out talking to customers, even their development team! The results were impressive and yielded an 8x increase in booked revenue over their previous year.
To help you understand Design Thinking, we have broken the process into five phases or modes, which are: 1. Empathise, 2. Define, 3. Ideate, 4. Prototype, and 5. Test. What’s special about Design Thinking is that designers’ work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn, and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way – in our designs, in our businesses, in our nations (and eventually, if things go really well, beyond), in our lives. Nevertheless, a great artist like Auguste Rodin, who created this famous sculpture called “The Thinker” and originally “Le Penseur”, would most likely have used the very same innovative processes in his artwork. In the same way, all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering and business have practiced it and still practice it.
The big idea with the Design Sprint is to build and test a prototype in just five days. You'll take a small team, clear the schedule for a week, and rapidly progress from problem to tested solution using a proven step-by-step checklist. It's like fast-forwarding into the future so you can see how customers react before you invest all the time and expense of building a real product. 
Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. At the same time, Design Thinking provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods.

Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, Frederik Pferdt, and IDEO CEO Tim Brown recently came together for our Creative Confidence series to discuss how they foster creativity within their organizations. They touched on themes from Tim’s Leading for Creativity course, which Frederik recently completed, and the importance of inclusion, psychological safety on teams, and empowering people with confidence in their creativity and the courage to act on their ideas.
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.
“For most organizations, doing some prototypes and a small beta test would be a good example of Design Thinking, but for a company with the heft of Google, they can absolutely afford to ‘launch’ something and see how it does without putting themselves at risk,” Rose wrote. “The amount of info that they learned from developing and launching it was incredible.”
Jake Knapp describes Design Sprints as a greatest hits of productivity, decision making, innovation, creativity, and design — and I think that’s true. But I recently took part in a sprint which modified this “greatest hits” formula heavily. My gut feeling was that these modifications were not beneficial, but since I was unfortunately not in a position to change the process, I chose to view it as an opportunity to gather data, and do a comparative analysis between this sprint, and the GV process outlined in the book — to learn, and to be more prepared for the next time around. https://i1.wp.com/s3.amazonaws.com/production-wordpress-assets/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/23155646/RAD.png?fit
“Monday’s structured discussions create a path for the sprint week. In the morning, you’ll start at the end and agree to a long-term goal. Next, you’ll make a map of the challenge. In the afternoon, you’ll ask the experts at your company to share what they know. Finally, you’ll pick a target: an ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week.”
×