Jonathan is the Co-Founder of AJ&Smart and is a Product Designer working between Berlin and San Francisco. His passion is helping companies work better together and empowering individuals to make real change in their organisation. He’s worked with everyone from General Electric, to LEGO, and Airbnb. Fun fact: Jonathan co-hosts a podcast with Jake Knapp, check it out here. 


Sometimes a design sprint can get rid of those preconceived notions. Michael Webb, cofounder of InnoLoft startup resident itsgr82bme, entered a design sprint with a clear idea in his head about using APIs as a means for connecting its calendar of family-friendly events with other sites’ event listings. During the sprint, he realized this could be done without using any APIs at all. He ended the sprint in a very different place.
Design Thinking is just one of the many industry-relevant courses offered by IVY League business schools through the EMERITUS platform. In addition to core subjects like finance, marketing, and leadership, EMERITUS also offers cutting edge courses on topics such as digital marketing, social media analytics, digital business strategies, digital marketplaces, negotiation and innovation, among others. In spite of being a new entrant in the online education space, the institute’s collaboration with IVY League schools and a heavyweight faculty stand it in good stead.
If your initial sprints fail, they may quickly fall out of favor with these influencers and leaders in the company. Truth is, no matter how much you prep, your first sprints will be rocky. However with options like the public workshops and customized in-house workshops, the really good news is that you don’t need to fall on your face to get started.
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).
Your sprint began with a big challenge, an excellent team—and not much else. By Friday, you’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week. But 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.
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
What Google learned from their research is similar to what developed within IDEO over the course of 30 years where trust, purpose, and impact have evolved to become central to IDEO’s culture. There’s a focus on establishing trust and building relationships by designing intentional moments, which we call rituals. For example, IDEO’s weekly tea time ritual was designed as a way to encourage collaboration and “casual collisions”—a time when people step away from what they’re working on and connect with each other. Small, consistent moments like tea time are a prime way to deepen relationships and trust over time.

Tip: Limit the number of variables in your prototype, so you receive specific feedback on your big question. Designing a digital product? Start by designing landing pages that express each product offering, rather than the entire user flow. Testing two feature sets? Keep the branding the same and test different product features against one another.


“Design thinking begins with skills designers have learned over many decades in their quest to match human needs with available technical resources within the practical constraints of business. By integrating what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable, designers have been able to create the products we enjoy today. Design thinking takes the next step, which is to put these tools into the hands of people who may have never thought of themselves as designers and apply them to a vastly greater range of problems.”

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 initiate a change in process or start the innovation of a product concept. This works well when you’re exploring opportunities with the goal of coming up with original concepts that ultimately will be tested in the real world — for example, if we need to understand how young parents would buy healthcare products online.
The second principle is that of the well known "Short Cycled PDCA". For every action you take, use assumptions to you state the desired output of that action, the path you want to follow (process) and the required input of that action in time, money and other resources. Than you take that action, after which you reflect of the actual input, output and process. Were our assumptions right? Are the results as expected? Can the results be improved? Was the process effective? In short: Learn, adjust, plan again, do again and check again. These cycles can vary from a day to a week each. Do not plan to far ahead, because the assumptions and insights on which your planning is based will probably change several times. 
After a full day of understanding the problem and choosing a target for your sprint, on Tuesday, you get to focus on solutions. The day starts with inspiration: a review of existing ideas to remix and improve. Then, in the afternoon, each person will sketch, following a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. You’ll also begin planning Friday’s customer test by recruiting customers that fit your target profile.

A great morning spent @Google London, focussing on ‘Design Sprints for Change’. 400 applications for the event, 100 in the room – it is a movement. It was fascinating to see how other big and small businesses are employing the same approach as RGAX to help their business grow by helping others. It was also nice to reconnect with John Vetan and Dana Vetan @designsprintacademy who showed us the way to identify real problems worth solving and create solutions you can test – all in 5 days!

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.
“On Monday, you and your team defined the challenge and chose a target. On Tuesday, you’ll come up with solutions. The day starts with inspiration: a review of existing ideas to remix and improve. Then, in the afternoon, each person will sketch, following a four-step process that emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. Later in the week, the best of these sketches will form the plan for your prototype and test.”
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.
The Sprint method allowed the team to start prototyping quickly, collect immediate user feedback, and make small mistakes early. We conducted multiple design sprints in quick loops—folding the learning from week one into the structure of week two, and so on. We learned a lot in the process. Here are a few quick tips we picked up for running successful and energizing design sprints.
Design Thinking is just one of the many industry-relevant courses offered by IVY League business schools through the EMERITUS platform. In addition to core subjects like finance, marketing, and leadership, EMERITUS also offers cutting edge courses on topics such as digital marketing, social media analytics, digital business strategies, digital marketplaces, negotiation and innovation, among others. In spite of being a new entrant in the online education space, the institute’s collaboration with IVY League schools and a heavyweight faculty stand it in good stead.
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.

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.
Why did we tell you this story? Telling stories can help us inspire opportunities, ideas and solutions. Stories are framed around real people and their lives. Stories are important because they are accounts of specific events, not general statements. They provide us with concrete details that help us imagine solutions to particular problems. While we’re at it, please watch this 1-minute video to help you get started understanding what Design Thinking is about. 

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.
Here at IDEO, it’s not uncommon to see dog-eared copies of Jake Knapp’s Sprint, a book that outlines the five-day process that Google Ventures uses to solve tough design problems. The books are stacked on desks, passed from designer to designer, and referenced in research planning discussions. Why? Because the Sprint process pushes you to think outside of the box, even at a creative place like IDEO. It helps you shift away from following your gut instinct and opinions; instead, it encourages you to let users guide your decision making. And it pushes you to move fast.
It’s not that people are being ignorant, there is just genuine confusion about what Design Thinking (DT) is and how it compares to other design processes. Rather than going into too much detail about how it DT compares to everything, I’m going to focus on how it compares to Design Sprints. This should clear up enough of the ambiguity so that it can be applied to anything.
Prototype only what you need to validate your ideas in a very short time; hammer out a realistic prototype, a facade of the experience you have envisioned in the sketch phase. Design a barest minimum but usable prototype, taking advantage for instance of of Pop App, an app that transforms pictures of a story board into clickable UI; think of your prototype as an experiment in order to test out hypothesis;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve lined up an elite Design Sprint team to train you. Jake Knapp—the actual creator of Design Sprints—leads Day 1 and beginning of Day 2 of the bootcamp for the first three stages of the design sprint process. Prototyping Guru Jeff Grant picks up Day 2 to coach you through the prototyping and testing phases. Get hands-on support, small-group facilitation, and expert guidance from Wily’s team of superstars who run design sprints all over the world.
Once everyone is BFFs, we introduce design sprints as a practice. We talk about how they fit into the bigger picture of business innovation, design thinking, and product development. We help attendees understand the work your team will need to do before the sprint, to ensure we’re connecting business value to the sprint, as well as choosing the right/best challenge.

In addition to the “What”, the “Who” is also key for a successful Sprint. It’s not only who participants in the Sprint that matters, but also who to inform before the Sprint, and who to involve after the Sprint. We saw some of the most amazing Sprint result goto waste because high level management did not know about the Sprint or did not agree on the initial problem it’s solving. The most successful Sprints are Sprints that has the right people throughout the whole process.

GV invests in startups, and at times those startups require product design advice to align their teams. To help with this, GV would send a designer to work with each startup for one week’s time. As it turns out, these processes have five phases, one for each day of that week. The structure and time constraint proved useful. Lo and behold, the design sprint was born.
Some designers have argued Google Glass is actually an exemplar of design thinking. The project was a grand experiment that incorporated creative risks and unconventional thinking—and a failure that is possibly more revealing than success would have been. Design thinking is simply manifested differently at a massive company like Google than it is in a classroom or studio, said Daniel Rose, an officer at a design-oriented consulting firm, in a LinkedIn discussion.
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