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
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.
In addition to encouraging curiosity and asking more questions, one tactic we use at IDEO to help companies evolve their culture to be more creative is what we call beacon projects—projects designed for teams to be able to break the norms of the organization. The role of these beacon projects is to challenge tightly held assumptions and processes and illustrate that new behavior is necessary to innovate. When teams or companies are deep in their industry, seeing and experiencing change will often increase their awareness to opportunities.
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.
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.

The third principle, which is also new to the method, is that of the "Innovation Space" model. Tim Brown believes that innovation can only work when the "Technology is Feasible", the "Business is Viable" and the "Value Proposition is Desirable". Especially the Desirable part is a new way of thinking and it connects to the "Empathy" aspect in the Design Thinking Cycle. I advise you to take a careful look at the "Innovation Space" model and see whether you understand all aspects of it.
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.
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 →
In many cases, a design sprint will lead you to something that gets initial user validation, where the next steps are defined. You’ll have reduced risk by doing some validation early, and developed next steps faster than would have otherwise been possible. Character Lab³ had a design sprint like this with thoughtbot. In a week, a large group of diverse stakeholders from an educational nonprofit got on the same page about what would be built, and remarked upon how quickly they reached agreement. Teachers and students were excited about the prototype they saw and couldn’t wait to use it. What we needed to build was clear and could proceed unimpeded at a good clip, which was very much needed given the size of the app and its shoestring, nonprofit budget.
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).
In these fun, fast-paced, hands-on events, Sprint authors Jake and JZ will rapidly lead you through all five stages of the Design Sprint process. Drawing on their 10 years of experience at Google and running more than 150 sprints with companies like Slack, Nest, 23andMe, and Blue Bottle Coffee, Jake and JZ will teach how and why the process works. You’ll experience a Design Sprint and build muscle memory for facilitating your own (whether it’s your first or 101st) and for incorporating these techniques into normal meetings. Private workshops for companies and organizations are also available.
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.
You’re the product person in your organization. You may have no one reporting to you. You might have 50 people in your product group. You might be responsible for the entire product. Maybe the design team doesn’t report to you, nor do the developers or marketing and sales teams. 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.

We wrap up Day 2 by setting the stage for what needs to happen after a design sprint. This is critical. One of the more popular misperceptions is that you’ll have your MVP at the conclusion of your design sprint — not true. You’ll have validation of a single, well-focused challenge within that solution, but there’s more that needs to happen to transition from design sprint to building those products & services.
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 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.”
With a small team and a clear schedule for the week, you’ll rapidly progress from problem to tested solution. On Monday, you create a map of the problem. On Tuesday, each individual sketches solutions. Then, on Wednesday, you decide which sketches are the strongest. On Thursday, you build a realistic prototype. And finally, on Friday, you test that prototype with five target customers.
“This year, we choose to show how design enables us to create a common future beyond all the differences, whether it’s for products, services, or public policy choices.” — Gaël Perdriau, Mayor of Saint-ÉtienneThe Saint-Étienne Design Biennale opens today in central France. Over the next month, the city will host a variety of exhibitions, events, and conferences that address salient topics in the design, art, and research community. As part of this year’s Biennale, the Material Design team collaborated with tech guru John Maeda to present the interactive exhibition Design in Tech. Opening this week at Cité du Design—and running until April 22—attendees can get hands-on with Material Design’s approach to color, typography, icons, and elevation, and explore key insights from Maeda’s 2019 Design in Tech Report. We hope to see you there! And for those that can’t make it, we’ve got an interview with Maeda and Material Design’s Rachel Been on the symbiotic (and evolving) relationship between design and development.Read “A New Religion for Designers”
The Sprint facilitator’s job is to talk to all those people, gather information, refine the problem statement and make sure everyone is clear and onboard with the problem you are solving before entering the Sprint. After the pre-work, a better version of the previous problem statement might be “How can we create a digital solution to help small individual Delis in New York City to manage food waste and increase revenue.”
A complete Sprint process involves user testing in the last two days. Scheduling is hard and resources are limited. It’s very easy to just do half of a Sprint and fall in love with the ideas your team come up with. A successful Sprint always include research with end users or at least internal people who is not in the Sprint team to validate the ideas. I would even recommend lower the fidelity of your prototype to squeeze in time for research. Testing some sketches on paper is definitely better than having a polished interactive prototype that haven’t been validated by anyone. You always learn something from user research, so you should always, always include research in your Sprint process.

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 sprint is simple and very very smart, it teaches us the meaning of meaningful work. It has a excellent process, framework and practical exercises in order to increase the likelihood of success. The fact that there are no caps in the title show simplicity, elegance and degree of detail in this book......if you are doing design sprints and want ideas or want to teach people in your organization you need this book.


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 →
You will receive a Sprint Master toolkit containing all the canvases you need to run your own Design Sprints. The kit also includes two Sprint Master's guidebooks you will use to set up the perfect sprinting pace and never get lost when facilitating a Design Sprint. The Blue Book covers the GV model and The Black Book the MVS model. These hands-on manuals and canvases are a treasure you will only find in this program. They come full of tips and hacks giving you the confidence you need to run your own Design Sprints.
Other trainers are experienced consultants and trainers in the area of UX, Scrum, Agile and Lean, who stay market-oriented by adding Design Sprints to their curriculum. For example, the German Trendig offers Design Sprint courses next to certified Agile and software training. The UXER school (Spain) offers Design Sprint workshops next to other user-centered and Design Thinking courses, just as UX-republic (France). The trainers behind Lǿpe (Norway) are experienced workshop facilitators and then decided to focus on Design Sprints only.
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.

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.
Couldn’t have said it better than the big man himself. As Tim says, Design Thinking is an approach to innovation that draws from a toolkit. This toolkit is vast and full of numerous exercises that can be pulled out at different points in the design process. Learning about Design Thinking is learning the philosophy and mindset of innovation along with the tools you could use to make your way there. Here’s everything you really need to know about Design Thinking.
In the Ideation stage, design thinkers spark off ideas — in the form of questions and solutions — through creative and curious activities such as Brainstorms and Worst Possible Idea. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best Ideation methods and guidelines that help facilitate successful Ideation sessions and encourage active part...

Empathy is an important element in Design Thinking and Human-Centred Design. What is empathy exactly? Why is empathy so important to designing solutions that actually work for people? Here, we’ll not only look at what empathy means, but will also look at how it helps design thinkers create solutions that work and, conversely, how a lack of empat...
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.‎
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.
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.”
Design for a light-touch, full-product experience. Ask yourself: What’s the smallest set of features you can design that will still solve users’ problems? Start with the simplest version of your product, get user feedback, and then add features. As your sprint loops continue, you can move from simple prototypes to robust product directions. With Swell, we focused on creating a hero page for each key interaction (landing page, sign up, and invest). This meant we were testing the functionality of the full product experience, just in a light-touch way.
The course on Udacity is a great entry-level course as an introduction, however it doesn’t get into as many of the focused details as this one – it also hasn’t been updated since we started doing the more updated version of the Sprint (the one we worked on Jake Knapp with). The Udacity course also doesn’t give you access to the toolkit, like the slides we use, the checklist etc.

Our facilitators took active part in the sprint. This might have seemed like a good idea, but since they were also facilitating, they were in a position of authority, and ended up influencing many decisions which should have been in the hands of the sprint team. Facilitators are people just like the rest of us — they can also get attached to their ideas, suffer from biases. So don’t get actively involved if you are facilitating a sprint — stay neutral.
“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.”
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]
Sharing his perspective on the course, Tanut says, “I have always believed that the best way to learn is to learn with a group of people, because it helps to share and leverage each other’s ideas. Through interactions with instructors and course participants, this online design thinking course truly helped me understand real problems, brainstorm and ideate, and overcome traditional boundaries. The modules and assignments helped me to see things differently.”

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. https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/extreme_programming_methodology.jpg
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.
You’re the product person in your organization. You may have no one reporting to you. You might have 50 people in your product group. You might be responsible for the entire product. Maybe the design team doesn’t report to you, nor do the developers or marketing and sales teams. 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.
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.
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