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:
“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.”
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...
The result is that you often end up with more junior staff members in the room, with senior executives only included on Monday when the group speaks to experts. That isn’t a problem in theory, as long as the high-level stakeholders delegate decision making authority to those in the room. However, in my experience, this rarely happens. There is a tendency for the executives to introduce new variables late in the day, undermining the whole process.

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.”
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.
Another important criterion is the expertise of the trainers, both into the subject as well as in training and facilitating teams and individuals. As mentioned before, some providers have build experience by applying the framework themselves, while building digital products. Others have a background as trainers (for example in Agile, Scrum or Design Thinking) and added Design Sprint training to their curriculum. 

‘How do people actually use our product?’ is a fundamental question that every product creator must answer. In order to answer this question, product designers need to understand the essence of the whole experience from the user’s perspective. User journey mapping is an excellent exercise that can shed light on that. What is a user journey map? User journey map is… Read More →
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.
“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.”
Design Thinking is an iterative and non-linear process. This simply means that the design team continuously use their results to review, question and improve their initial assumptions, understandings and results. Results from the final stage of the initial work process inform our understanding of the problem, help us determine the parameters of the problem, enable us to redefine the problem, and, perhaps most importantly, provide us with new insights so we can see any alternative solutions that might not have been available with our previous level of understanding.
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.
Jake Knapp describes Design Sprints as a greatest hits of productivity, decision making, innovation, creativity, and design — and I think that’s true. But I recently took part in a sprint which modified this “greatest hits” formula heavily. My gut feeling was that these modifications were not beneficial, but since I was unfortunately not in a position to change the process, I chose to view it as an opportunity to gather data, and do a comparative analysis between this sprint, and the GV process outlined in the book — to learn, and to be more prepared for the next time around. https://i1.wp.com/s3.amazonaws.com/production-wordpress-assets/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/23155646/RAD.png?fit
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. https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/joint_application_development_methodology.jpg

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
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.
Tim Brown, CEO of the celebrated innovation and design firm IDEO, shows in his successful book Change by Design that Design Thinking is firmly based on generating a holistic and empathic understanding of the problems that people face, and that it involves ambiguous or inherently subjective concepts such as emotions, needs, motivations, and drivers of behaviors. This contrasts with a solely scientific approach, where there’s more of a distance in the process of understanding and testing the user’s needs and emotions — e.g., via quantitative research. Tim Brown sums up that Design Thinking is a third way: Design Thinking is essentially a problem-solving approach, crystalized in the field of design, which combines a holistic user-centered perspective with rational and analytical research with the goal of creating innovative solutions.

Once we have an understanding of the foundation we all need to run a successful design sprint, we kick off by working through the sprint’s Monday exercises — setting a proper long term goal based on our sprint challenge, determining our sprint questions, creating a map, interviewing experts, connecting our personas to the map, and selecting a target.
Lastly, a design sprint can stop you from building any product at all. Marc Guy, CEO of Faze1, also went through a design sprint at the InnoLoft. The sprint made him realize his company needed to stop building a product and instead go out and talk to customers. Mind blown, product invalidated! The business model has shifted significantly since then, as it subsequently focused on customer development. In fact, C. Todd didn’t see Marc or his team in the InnoLoft much after their design sprint. They were all out talking to customers, even their development team! The results were impressive and yielded an 8x increase in booked revenue over their previous year.
Some started as a product design or UX agency, who adopted the Design Sprint themselves in order to improve user experiences. By adopting the framework, the newly build digital products were not only embraced by their clients but even more so by its end-users. After implementing Design Sprint in their own agencies, they started training their clients, as well as outsiders. In this category, we find Design Sprint Academy (Germany, UK, Canada, Australia) AJ&Smart (Germany), Perspective (The Netherlands) and Hike One (The Netherlands).
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.

A design sprint reduces the risk of downstream mistakes and generates vision-led goals the team can use to measure its success. For the purposes of this book, we’ll focus on digital products, as our direct experience lies in that arena, though the design sprint has roots in gaming and architecture,¹and many industries have employed them successfully.
The company’s current focus (determined from previous Googlegeist surveys) is to be the most inclusive workplace on the planet. As Frederik says, diversity and inclusion lead to empathy and innovation. As an organization, the more inclusive you are the more innovative you are. Google is designing products for people all over the world, which makes it imperative for the company to understand and empathize with different global perspectives. How well you connect to people who are different from yourself significantly increases the diversity of ideas you have.

The company’s current focus (determined from previous Googlegeist surveys) is to be the most inclusive workplace on the planet. As Frederik says, diversity and inclusion lead to empathy and innovation. As an organization, the more inclusive you are the more innovative you are. Google is designing products for people all over the world, which makes it imperative for the company to understand and empathize with different global perspectives. How well you connect to people who are different from yourself significantly increases the diversity of ideas you have.
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.
With more than 500 new apps entering the market every day, what does it take to build a successful digital product? You can greatly reduce your risk of failure with design sprints, a process that enables your team to prototype and test a digital product idea within a week. This practical guide shows you exactly what a design sprint involves and how you can incorporate the process into your organization.
The outcome of a Design Sprint is not an end result, but rather a starting point. The goal of a Design Sprint is not to end up with a perfect solution after just one week, but to get feedback on one or two possible solutions. What we usually see is that the direction is so big (because your problem is big), you need to further split your solutions into chewable chucks to for prioritization and phasing. So don’t focus too much on building exactly what you come up with in the Sprint, the result of a successful Design Sprint is better understanding of the problem, better alignment within the team and feedback on potential solutions you can further research and design on.
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]
Tenny Pinheiro lives in Silicon Valley, CA. He pioneered Service Design Sprints by publishing in 2014 his book The Service Startup: Design Thinking gets Lean (2014 Elsevier/ Altabooks / Hayakawa). In the book, Tenny proposed the MVS model, a Service Design Sprint methodology based on the integration of Lean Startup and Service Design Thinking. The MVS was the first methodology to suggest an Agile Sprint approach to Design Thinking projects. The book was published two years before Google Ventures launched the book Sprint.
While we assume you’re familiar with the original Design Sprint, here’s a quick recap: the Design Sprint is a five-day process to solve big problems and test ideas. A dedicated team discusses a challenge, designs potential solutions, and tests them with real users. You start with something vague, and finish with real feedback and something extremely tangible in just five days.
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