Today, the best companies in the world are using the revolutionary design sprint process to create, prototype, test, and release new products, as well as develop new strategies, enter new markets, and more. In this program, you'll learn exactly how and why the design sprint process is so effective, and why it's become so integral to the success of so many leading companies. To ensure you're learning from the best, we've partnered with international design firm AJ&Smart, who have pioneered a Version 2.0 of this influential process to design products for Lufthansa, Zalando, Red Bull, and more.
Going way back, the term charrette was used to describe any collaborative workshop session among designers, and design-thinking frameworks from Stanford’s d.school emerged as a way to apply more structure to this concept. Industrial product design firms like IDEO developed short-cycle design sessions called deep dives, which built on the design charrette concept popularized by Stanford’s d.school.
It is a long time now that Design Sprints were used only by young, tech startups. The acclaimed success of the framework also triggered the interest of professionals in established companies, who search for tools to bring innovation into their companies. Whereas many successful startups adopted the Design Sprints from the start, established companies need to make a switch in working processes and habits, to implement and benefit from the framework. Setting the prerequisites and further implementation, therefore, became another focus area for some trainers and consultants. Trainers now target a variety of professionals, from startup founders to designers, from UX leads to developers, from marketers to innovation managers in multinationals. Most of the trainers combine public workshops with in-house training and facilitation.

Philippe Antoine did an enticing job presenting the Design Sprint methodology on Google booth at Vivatech last June. What is Google Design Sprint approach? It’s a five days framework, combining Design Thinking with Lean Startup, to move from a customer problem to a range of creative ideas, and a tested prototype. In other words, it helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping, and user testing.


The drawback of a design sprint is that it is a serious undertaking. Many organizations shy away from dedicating the energy of a team or even one individual for a full week straight. They tend to not take a focused approach and rather opt with weekly meetings, etc. A true design sprint will take a week! The good news is that you can involve another firm in helping you to run the sprint and many of these people will bring an outside perspective and experience with this sort of design thinking innovation approach.
I found the Design Sprint masterclass to be a great introduction to the concept and methodology. In comparison to the book (which I would also recommend reading), it was a fun and interactive way to get practical experience in a classroom environment. I plan to use this process in my work going forward and hope to influence how other people in my organisation view and approach complex problems.
We added a new exercise here that makes the storyboarding process at least 27 times easier (give or take). It’s called User Test Flow and it’s a form of Note & Vote exercise. Everyone designs the barebones of their own storyboard and then we vote on the one or two that we end up prototyping. Even though it’s an extra step, it speeds up the storyboarding process by a million miles and eliminates the “designing by committee” aspect of it. Here’s a video that explains it in detail (and there’s a Medium post on it, too). https://res.cloudinary.com/practicaldev/image/fetch/s--Kjt27KoI--/c_fill,f_auto,fl_progressive,h_50,q_auto,w_50/https://thepracticaldev.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/user/profile_image/92605/70cd7f2f-e0f0-4603-922c-b1048cbd9a7e.jpg
Sketch solutions on paper: generate a broad range of ideas, and narrow down to a select group; team members are given time and space to brainstorm solutions on their own: they can look to comparable problems for inspiration, take note, boost idea generation, share and vote, and narrow down to one well defined idea per person, creating their own detailed Solution Sketch;
With the skills you will learn you will be able to modify and create new Design Sprint agendas and flows that fits your needs. Often Sprint Masters need to adapt according to their needs and resources. This means making changes in the original process flow depicted in the original books or ever-changing modifications of it like Design Sprint 2.0. These hard-coded Sprint agendas need constant adjustments to perform in specific scenarios and with specific resources.
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.

“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.”


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.”

In a world of hyper-specialization, C. Todd stands in the intersections and sees the connections that revolve around us. As an Innovation Architect at Constant Contact's InnoLoft, he facilitates product and service design sprints for a wide range of external startups and internal product teams. C. Todd is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Madrid's prestigious IE Business School where he teaches courses on Creativity, Innovation, Design-Thinking and Communication.
Tip: Use the same currency exercise for all of your sprint prototypes, so that you can see how attitudes evolve with your design tweaks. For example, give each user $500 Monopoly dollars and see where they would invest their money. Designing a new shoe brand? Ask them which ones they’d buy, or if they’d prefer to spend the money on their tried-and-true Nikes. This exercise is about the conversation it provokes more than the payments themselves, so get curious!
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.
One of the best ways to gain insights in a Design Thinking process is to carry out some form of prototyping. This method involves producing an early, inexpensive, and scaled down version of the product in order to reveal any problems with the current design. Prototyping offers designers the opportunity to bring their ideas to life, test the prac...
Page 36 - ... them because of the difficulties of going back and starting afresh. From his case studies of architectural design, Rowe (1987) observed: A dominant influence is exerted by initial design ideas on subsequent problem-solving directions . . . Even when severe problems are encountered, a considerable effort is made to make the initial idea work, rather than to stand back and adopt a fresh point of departure.‎
Use tricks that force users to make real—not hypothetical—decisions. The goal of any new product is to create something that people find valuable and are willing to pay for over other options in the market. But as designers, we know that often what consumers say they like is different from what they actually buy in the wild. One way we bridged this gap was by testing demand with potential Swell consumers: We gave them fake cash they could “invest” in one product or another. It was a great way to gauge whether the service had real value in the market.

Some of the world’s leading brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE, have rapidly adopted the Design Thinking approach, and Design Thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world, including d.school, Stanford, Harvard and MIT. But do you know what Design Thinking is? And why it’s so popular? Here, we’ll cut to the chase and tell you what it is and why it’s so in demand.
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.
Richard Thaler, the Nobel Prize winning economist, talks about a mythical species that is real only to an economist. The Homo Economicus — he calls them Econ for short. An Econ is an extremely rational being and believes in maximizing utility with every decision they make. This is what a prototypical Econ looks and behaves like: I believe when we… Read More →

When these participants are asked what has been the tangible outcome of the course, there are some interesting responses, like that of Laetitia Hoquetis, a Sales and Account Manager at Bloomberg. She says, “What I learnt applies to almost every situation, product, service, whether it is innovation or not. It helps us ask the right questions and then take the next steps.” Another participant, Tanut Karnwai, a Team Lead at the Beumer Group,says, “I got to understand how innovation works and how I can capitalise on it.”
This is a relatively new practice in the business world, and there are different definitions of what exactly constitutes ‘Design Thinking’. While some call it a ‘problem-solving protocol that helps you achieve big results by focusing on the solution’, others say it is a ‘core strategy that creates an organisational culture focused on solving problems for the end user.’ There are also those who talk about design thinking as a factor that can impact the greater good and change life for the better.
At GV, the Design Sprint concept developed from a vision to grow UX culture and the practice of design leadership across the organization. Multiple teams within Google experimented with different methods from traditional UX practice, IDEO, the Stanford dSchool and a range of other disciplines. The process aims to help teams to clearly define goals, validating assumptions and deciding on a product roadmap before starting development. It seeks to address strategic issues using interdisciplinary, rapid prototyping, and user testing. This design process is similar to Sprints in an Agile development cycle.[3]
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.
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.
A lesson which is perhaps the most important one, especially if you are sprinting with people who are new to design thinking and design in general: be extremely mindful to explicitly state what sort of mindset one should adopt in a sprint. Specifically, outline what design is, and what wicked problems are. Provide a warm-up exercise such as the 30-circle challenge. Explain the importance of not falling in love with your ideas — that you should fall in love with the problem instead. You should fall in love with the “it” you are trying to figure out how to solve.
“Sprints begin with a big challenge, an excellent team — and not much else. By Friday of your sprint week, you’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week. But Friday, you’ll take it one step further as you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile: At the end of the day you’ll know how far you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.”
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