On Thursday, you'll build a realistic prototype of the solutions in your storyboard so you can simulate a finished product for your customers. Design Sprint prototyping is all about a "fake it till you make it" philosophy: With a realistic-looking prototype, you'll get the best possible data from Friday's test, and you'll learn whether you're on the right track.
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.
It is important to note that the five phases, stages, or modes are not always sequential. They do not have to follow any specific order and can often occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. Given that, you should not understand the phases as a hierarchal or step-by-step process. Instead, you should look at it as an overview of the modes or phases that contribute to an innovative project, rather than sequential steps.
“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.”
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.
Design Sprints started at Google to spark collaborative creativity, solve complex business problems and reduce the risk of failure when launching a new product to the market. Since the Sprint book came out in 2016, Design Sprints have become widely adopted globally by companies as a tool for innovation and problem-solving and one of the most hyped processes around.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This should be a no-brainer, but do NOT, under any circumstances start revising the foundation of the sprint, which was defined at the beginning of the process. In our case, assumptions, questions, goals and problems were literally revised on the last day of the sprint, rendering much of the process pointless, since everything in the sprint is built on top of this foundation. Mess with the foundation — and the whole house comes crashing down.
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).
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.

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.

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.
“If we as professionals are serious about growing our career, then we need to continually educate ourselves,” says Mark Jamieson, Founder, The Calm Revolution, who took an online course on ‘Innovation of Products and Services: MIT’S Approach to Design Thinking’ offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration with The EMERITUS Institute of Management.

To make your Design Sprint more efficient, Google suggests a few preparation tips, like writing a Sprint brief, collecting User Research, assembling a cross-functional team, planning Lightning Talks, creating a Deck, finding the right Space, getting the Supplies, setting the stage, the ground rules for Sprinting, and choosing a good ice-breaker! Innovation fortune only favors the prepared mind.


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.


After a career in user experience design and research at companies like Microsoft and Nuance, Trace then became a developer at Pivotal Labs, and is now a Managing Director at thoughtbot. He has facilitated numerous product design sprints, and is an author and maintainer of thoughtbot's design sprint methodology repository. He's brought Lean and Agile methodology to many large companies and small startups, helping teams to focus, prioritize, and become happy and productive.

“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”

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...

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.
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.
Our Udacity course is a fantastic introduction to the Design Sprint. Our MasterClass has enough brand new in-depth exercises and exclusive resources that you can’t find anywhere else, to help take you to the next level. Because we know you’ll love our course, we’re happy to give all AJ&Smart Udacity students 299€ (the original price of the Udacity course) off their purchase of our Masterclass. Just email your receipt from the Udacity course to [email protected]!
Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a ha...
It is important to note that the five phases, stages, or modes are not always sequential. They do not have to follow any specific order and can often occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. Given that, you should not understand the phases as a hierarchal or step-by-step process. Instead, you should look at it as an overview of the modes or phases that contribute to an innovative project, rather than sequential steps.
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. https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/waterfall_model.jpg

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. 

Have a group and want to save more? Groups always save with Coveros Training! Groups of 3–5 save 10% on Public and Live Virtual training, and groups of 6 or more save 20%. Group discounts are automatically applied when registering multiple attendees with the same initial path. For groups choosing a mix of classes, contact our Client Support Group at 929.777.8102 or email [email protected].


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.‎
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.
“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.”
Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, Frederik Pferdt, and IDEO CEO Tim Brown recently came together for our Creative Confidence series to discuss how they foster creativity within their organizations. They touched on themes from Tim’s Leading for Creativity course, which Frederik recently completed, and the importance of inclusion, psychological safety on teams, and empowering people with confidence in their creativity and the courage to act on their ideas.

Since we've pioneered Service Design Sprints in 2014 we've been busy teaching both the MVS and the GV Design Sprint models to product developers around the globe. Our diverse community of alumni Design Sprint Masters includes startups in Silicon Valley,  small businesses in Latin America, innovation powerhouses like Cisco in the USA, government agencies in Malaysia, tech giants in Japan, and the list goes on. The Design Sprint School is a direct result of these learning and teaching experiences collected during such complexity-rich and culturally diverse engagements. https://res.cloudinary.com/practicaldev/image/fetch/s--MRTtA0aB--/c_fill,f_auto,fl_progressive,h_50,q_auto,w_50/https://thepracticaldev.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/user/profile_image/27744/7899f8c6-aa40-4cd6-ab30-833593220321.jpg


About 20% of people currently enrolled in our Design Sprint Masterclass have managed to get their company to pay for it, but so far everyone we’ve spoken to has said that regardless of whether they paid themselves or not, they feel like the investment will be totally worth it and that they’ll make the money back from the benefits of taking the course anyway (professional development, promotions, new client offerings, etc.)
Learn fast, fail fast. The sprint helps to obtain a clear vision of the goals upfront. It forces you to make critical decisions and solve complex problems fast. This means that you and your team can save months of design, engineering and development costs. The bonus? You’ll be able to get your product to market faster because you focussed on the right thing.
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.
The other day I was contacted for advice on what someone could do who had to create a 120 hour innovation workshop. This was a challenge. Most innovation workshops I’ve helped people to develop are a half day to 3 days in length. With the exception of a 200 hour program over 4 weeks, the longest program I offer is the equivalent to a 3 credit university course…about 45 hours in length. A Design Sprint as a training workshop could be a great thing to integrate into a longer program or course, especially one where you have a full week available to the students. Students could learn many great design thinking and agile approaches to innovation through the activities of the specific days! As a bonus, they may create a real solution or innovation they can take ownership of.
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.
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.

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). https://res.cloudinary.com/practicaldev/image/fetch/s--Kjt27KoI--/c_fill,f_auto,fl_progressive,h_50,q_auto,w_50/https://thepracticaldev.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/user/profile_image/92605/70cd7f2f-e0f0-4603-922c-b1048cbd9a7e.jpg
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.
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.

A design sprint can also be used to test a single feature or subcomponent of a product. This allows you to focus on a particular aspect of the design. For example, your team might need to know what improvements can be made to the onboarding process. Using the design sprint to discover the pros and cons of a new onboarding channel could give you granular insights into a high-return part of the product experience.
After a career in user experience design and research at companies like Microsoft and Nuance, Trace then became a developer at Pivotal Labs, and is now a Managing Director at thoughtbot. He has facilitated numerous product design sprints, and is an author and maintainer of thoughtbot's design sprint methodology repository. He's brought Lean and Agile methodology to many large companies and small startups, helping teams to focus, prioritize, and become happy and productive.
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