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.
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.
“…the more I pondered the nature of design and reflected on my recent encounters with engineers, business people and others who blindly solved the problems they thought they were facing without question or further study, I realized that these people could benefit from a good dose of design thinking. Designers have developed a number of techniques to avoid being captured by too facile a solution. They take the original problem as a suggestion, not as a final statement, then think broadly about what the real issues underlying this problem statement might really be (for example by using the "Five Whys" approach to get at root causes). Most important of all, is that the process is iterative and expansive. Designers resist the temptation to jump immediately to a solution to the stated problem. Instead, they first spend time determining what the basic, fundamental (root) issue is that needs to be addressed. They don't try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called "Design Thinking."
Sprint facilitator is a hard job. Another advice to better facilitate is find a partner: to bounce off ideas, help facilitate and bridge the gap of knowledge. If you don’t personally work with the team who participants in the Sprint, then find a partner in the team who understand the problem space; If you are too familiar with the team or problem, then find a partner to help bring the team back to focus while rat holing, or simply do time management if you are uncomfortable doing so.
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 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.
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
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.
An integral part of the Design Thinking process is the definition of a meaningful and actionable problem statement, which the design thinker will focus on solving. This is perhaps the most challenging part of the Design Thinking process, as the definition of a problem (also called a design challenge) will require you to synthesise your observati...
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.
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.
As a Sprint facilitator, it is very easy to focus too much on the “How” while planning a Sprint: When is the date? What is the room situation? What are the activities and agenda for each day? Those are questions that are important but not critical. Before getting into the logistics, there are two important things to focus on to ensure the success of a Design Sprint.
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.
Ah, Tuesday morning. A leisurely stroll around the gallery of concept sketches, coffee cup in hand, taking it all in. We spend the whole morning deciding what to prototype, starting with the Heat Map, where people place multiple votes on inspiring parts of sketches so that clusters can form. These clusters are then highlighted in the solution presentations, where the moderator walks the room through each individual sketch, followed by the straw poll (where everybody puts one vote on the one solution they want to push forward). The morning is rounded off with the Decider’s vote, where they pick one or two concepts that they want to prototype.
We ran a sprint over three days, with each day dedicated to a different “it”. This led to two issues. First, ideas spilled over from one day to the next. Ideas that had been discarded on day one, would be “frankensteined” alive again, on days two and three. People get attached to their ideas, and it showed! Second, there was a lack of clarity about the purpose of the sprint, which led to a lack of focus and slow momentum.
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. https://www.tatvasoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/dynamic_systems_development_model_methodology.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.)
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.
Sketch solutions on paper: generate a broad range of ideas, and narrow down to a select group; team members are given time and space to brainstorm solutions on their own: they can look to comparable problems for inspiration, take note, boost idea generation, share and vote, and narrow down to one well defined idea per person, creating their own detailed Solution Sketch;
For example, if your problem is “How to build a better newsletter for existing customers to increase brand loyalty”, you probably don’t need a Design Sprint since you already know the solution of better brand loyalty is a better newsletter. Just create a project and follow the normal product design process. You can still prototype and test with users, but it probably doesn’t require everyone to drop whatever they are working on for a week to figure out the design.
Einstein was certainly right — we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. In addition, with the rapid changes in society, the methods we have previously used to solve many of the problems we face are no longer effective. We need to develop new ways of thinking in order to design better solutions, ser...