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.
Thanks to timeboxing, the Design Sprint takes a process that can sometimes drag on for months, and condenses it into just 5 days. The client is actively involved in the first days of the sprint (workshops). Day 4 is devoted to Prototyping and can be performed remotely. On day 5 we will invite users to test our prototype and take advantage of their feedback to assess the potential of your product.
We can connect you to organizations who can run a full 5 day design sprint with you. We can also train you and introduce you to the key activities of the design sprint in our training workshops so you can get started on your own. We can also focus on shorter approaches to generating and developing ideas for and with your customers using the philosophy behind design sprints as well as design thinking, lean startup, agile, scrum, and the front end of innovation. https://res.cloudinary.com/practicaldev/image/fetch/s--M5agzuGU--/c_imagga_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,h_100,q_auto,w_100/https://thepracticaldev.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/user/profile_image/119031/08546e06-e482-4dc1-a1fc-8d2be828e522.jpg
“Design Sprints proved to be a valuable tool for accelerating our early-stage, service-driven innovation initiatives. The Design Sprint School team and approach have been instrumental in helping us create the environment and the internal capacity to run our Service Design Sprints for internal Ventures and for running Co-innovation at our Cisco Innovation Centers around the world” https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/feature_driven_development.jpg
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.
Transforming concept into business: transforming the prototype into a business stream, is not only a question of product industrialization, it’s also a matter of distribution channels, customer relationship, resources, partnerships, profitable model, all things that often require the engagement of parent business unit within the company. This transformation process where your innovative concept creates an opportunity for your partner business unit is a delicate scale-up to handle.
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.
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.
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.
The ‘Innovation of Products and Services: MIT’S Approach to Design Thinking’ course teaches participants to understand the design thinking process; identify and assess customer opportunities; generate and evaluate new product and service concepts; design services and customer experiences; design for environmental sustainability; and evaluate product development economics. A team-based concept development project assignment, focused on opportunity evaluation and concept development, is integrated into all course modules. The course consists of discussions, case studies, a capstone project, real world applications and 62 interactive lectures.
Tim references the importance of subtle behavior shifts, especially from leaders. One recipe for unsuccessful teams is having unrealistic time constraints. Teams miss deadlines, take a long time to iterate, and leaders get impatient. The way to flip this is to find ways to get to fast iterations and fast learning. The notion of what is failure changes dramatically along the time axis. The antidote of not being allowed to fail is to learn faster. It doesn’t feel like a failure if you learn in a week.
As new business concepts and trends emerge, it becomes imperative for professionals to stay up to date. For the moment, design thinking is one such discipline where the buzz is. Companies like Virgin, Toyota, and scores of others have been vocal about how they are able to innovate continuously due to the culture of design thinking. There’s no reason why you cannot join them.
The product person: Maybe you're in a startup without all those defined roles and you wear a lot of hats. Maybe you're in a large enterprise organization that has each one defined to the nth degree. Maybe you are a product design freelancer. You might work in an agency as a consultant. You probably have read a blog post about this process. Maybe you even tried one yourself. You're very likely wondering how your unique needs will work with Design Sprints and are seeking more information than you can find in a few blog posts. If any of these descriptions sound familiar then this book was intended for you.
Are you looking for a way to introduce your team or organization to design thinking or this approach of a design sprint? Contact Darin at [email protected] for a design sprint training workshop to help your team gain awareness and hands on experience with this powerful approach to solve customer problems and design new products, services, and programs. We can also refer you to others who can help you with either learning for the first time or conducting your own design sprint.
Serial innovator, Nicolas Bryhas set up creative units for new business at Orange, Club-Internet, and SFR. He created crowd platform Imagine.Orange.com, Orange Studio for Intrapreneurs, and edits Open Innovation blog RapidInnovation.fr. He’s an international speaker, coach for entrepreneurs & startups, innovation teacher at Telecom ParisTech, HEC & CentraleSupélec, and freelance consultant (ECC). Follow him at @nicobry.
“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.”
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.
Google could learn a lesson from REALM Charter School in Berkeley, California, where students put the principles of good design thinking into practice. Emily Pilloton, teacher and Studio H founder, wrote that design should be “an active response to a context . . . a social act that builds citizenship in the next generation.” Students in her program have built a school library, a farmers’ market, and an outdoor classroom. But before diving into the projects, they conduct ethnographic research to identify their community’s (or, in the case of the library and classroom, their own) needs.
“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.”
Braden Kowitz added story-centered design, an approach that focuses on the user instead of features or technologies. Michael Margolis took customer research—which can typically take weeks to plan and often delivers confusing results—and figured out a way to get crystal clear results in just one day. John Zeratsky brought a focus on measuring results with the key metrics from each business. And Daniel Burka brought firsthand expertise as an entrepreneur to ensure every step made sense for startups.
I also appreciate the approach that is agile in nature….hence the term sprint. A design sprint team is composed of about 5 people with specific roles (much like an agile SCRUM team in size with specific responsibilities to the team and project). A team can accomplish more than they think and having the structure of a time limit can help them to achieve. I also appreciate the focus on validating quickly and talking to real potential customers or users…and doing it very soon. Even with my background in qualitative research methods and qualitative data analysis, (and projects where I’ve interviewed over 100 people when starting a new product or service development challenge), it is very valuable and you can see themes and validation for your learning and decision making from interviewing just 5 people that represent your target persona or audience! Yes, many times you will learn the most important things to help you determine your innovation direction from the first 5 people you interview out of 100…so why not just do 5 and then iterate from there?
Yes! Our goal is to provide you with all the knowledge, information and the toolkit you need to confidently facilitate a successful Sprint. Everything included in this course are what we wish we had known before we started doing Sprints, and also stuff we’ve built up over time and loads of real-life experience doing Sprints with a range of different companies. Something you feel like you’re missing at the end? Just tell us and we’ll make it happen!
But probably the most valuable benefit of design sprints is that they introduce stakeholders to the importance of validating ideas with real users. Google has orientated the whole week around building a prototype that users find easy to use. That is a valuable lesson for colleagues who can often be more focused on their own agenda, rather than that of the user.