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.
“Design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It is not only human-centered; it is deeply human in and of itself. Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as functionality, to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols. Nobody wants to run a business based on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an overreliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as dangerous. The integrated approach at the core of the design process suggests a ‘third way.’ “
The faculty at EMERITUS comprises professors who have been recognised for their contribution to thought leadership in management. They include Steve Eppinger (Design Thinking), Jared Curhan (Negotiation and Influence) and John Van Maanen (Leading Organisations) from MIT Sloan, Kathy Phillips & Adam Galinsky (Leading People & Teams) from Columbia Business School and Vijay Govindarajan (Leading Innovation Using the 3 Box Solution) and Marshall Goldsmith from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/prototype_methodology.jpg

In 2012 and 2013, the Google Ventures team published a how-to series about Design Sprints, and the process started to spread. The Sprint book came out in 2016, and today, thousands of teams around the world have run sprints in startups (like Slack and Airbnb), big companies (like LEGO and Google), agencies (like IDEO and McKinsey), schools (like Stanford and Columbia), governments (like the UK and the UN), and even museums (like the British Museum and the Smithsonian).
“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.” 

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.
What if we asked as many questions as kids? Frederik highlights the imbalance between the number of questions we ask as kids versus adults. “For example, my oldest child probably asks about 180 questions a day. But as adults, we’re maybe asking 2-4 questions a day.” In his book A More Beautiful Question, Warren Berger shares a great example of this. The simple, yet powerful question that led to the creation of the Polaroid Instant Camera—why do we have to wait for the picture—came from the four-year-old daughter of the founder of Polaroid.
After you have a big and vague problem that your team decided to run a Sprint on, the next step is further defining the problem so that it’s concrete and manageable. Instead of a too vague statement like “How to reduce food waste in New York City”. You and the team need to do some pre-work to further define the problem — Who are the users? What’s your product focus/technology/strength? What are the constrains? Believe it or not, your team usually already know a lot about the problem. Someone in the organization probably already done some research or had some ideas. If your team has nothing, then look outside your organization, chances are that there is a competitor somewhere already doing something similar.
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.

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.


The design sprint is an important approach to innovation and quickly developing new products and services that customers want. It is becoming a popular trend in organizations and with designers and developers. It is also relevant to people of other roles since innovation is everyone’s business. Scroll through this article for a quick design sprint training guide. Consider getting the book (or at least the free toolkit and resources), participating in a design sprint workshop, or running your own sprint to learn through experience.

In theory you probably could, and we’ve always been advocates for making the Design Sprint as open as possible, and our aim is to get as many people as possible using it (as long as they do it properly!) however to get all the information in a structured way, and all the toolkit and materials for free, would be really hard and would take hours of piecing bits of information together. Also, most of the information that’s readily available is on the internet (including our own) speaks to a total beginner audience, whereas the material in our course, while suitable for beginners, will give you a deep-dive into the Sprint and all the process and materials around it. The toolkit we provide as part of the course is the actual ‘live’ stuff we’re currently using with our Sprint clients, and we’ve never made it readily available, and to our knowledge, there isn’t anyone else putting this stuff out there.
In the end the design effort and research should lead to an "Fact Based or Evidence Based Business Design". The design can have many forms, ranging from a business plan to a company website, but we advise that the design should at least contain a substantiated Value Web, a substantiated Business Model Canvas and a substantiated Value Proposition Canvas.
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.
There are many variants of the Design Thinking process in use today, and they have from three to seven phases, stages, or modes. However, all variants of Design Thinking are very similar. All variants of Design Thinking embody the same principles, which were first described by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in The Sciences of the Artificial in 1969. Here, we will focus on the five-phase model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, which is also known as d.school. We’ve chosen d.school’s approach because they’re at the forefront of applying and teaching Design Thinking. The five phases of Design Thinking, according to d.school, are as follows:
What I Find Noteworthy:  They have a certification program and a mentor program. If you pass their Sprint Master certification exam, you can serve as a mentor to other students in future classes, and join their online community of Sprint Masters. Students learn not one, but two different approaches to design sprints (Jake Knapp’s sprint model and Tenny Pinheiro’s MVS service start-up model).
This is Chapter 1 from “Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products,” by Richard Banfield, C Todd Lombardo, and Trace Wax. Design Sprint was just recently named one of the 100 Best Product Design Books of All Time by The Book Authority (#8 for those who are counting!). NOTE: I have included links to additional, related Design Sprint resources within the post that are not part of the book chapter. These resources are denoted by a “- — -” divider.
You can’t change what you can’t measure, right? One of the biggest questions we initially faced when implementing design sprints in our organizations was “How do you measure the success of a design sprint?” In our experience, it was often the absence of something that we were trying to measure. For example, how do you measure the amount of time you won’t spend on bad product development? How much money will you save by not investing in a product that will make less ROI? Those questions point toward future gains by not spending some difficult-to-calculate amount of time or money. How do you measure the absence of a failed product?
What I Find Noteworthy:  Well-known MOOC provider partnering with one of the world’s most respected design sprint firms, to deliver a crash course on design sprints. I’ve strongly considered taking this class as I already enjoy watching AJ&Smart’s videos on YouTube. In addition to providing a good baseline knowledge of design sprints, the class seems like a great way to get in some “practice reps” before attempting to facilitate an actual sprint.
“Design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It is not only human-centered; it is deeply human in and of itself. Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as functionality, to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols. Nobody wants to run a business based on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an overreliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as dangerous. The integrated approach at the core of the design process suggests a ‘third way.’ “

Use the Tabata training method of product design. Tabata training is a workout method that focuses on 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is a great metaphor for sprint prototyping: It’s intense, and that means that rest is just as important as the creative bursts. Make a point of managing team energy by having intentional down days. With Swell, we made sure to keep our energy up by working in cafes, getting breather spaces when we needed to focus, and even hitting up museums or exercise classes to stay healthy and inspired.
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