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.
Jake Knapp is the creator of the Design Sprint, and author of New York Times bestseller "Sprint" and the upcoming book "Make Time". Jake spent 10 years at Google and Google Ventures, where he created the Design Sprint process, and now along with AJ&Smart he trains people all over the world about the Design Sprint and how to use it in their work. Fun fact: Jake Knapp and AJ&Smart CEO Jonathan Courtney host popular Product Design podcast 'The Product Breakfast Club' together.
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.

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.


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.
“Sprints begin with a big challenge, an excellent team — and not much else. By Friday of your sprint week, you’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week. But Friday, you’ll take it one step further as you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile: At the end of the day you’ll know how far you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.”
IDEO’s most famous example is the Shopping Cart Concept, a deep dive that was featured on Nightline in 1999.² The team pushed back on age-old mythologies about how design gets done and brought a multidisciplinary team together to brainstorm, research, prototype, and obtain user feedback that went from idea to a working model in four days. By collapsing the time constraints, the designers were essentially holding a gun to their heads and forcing themselves to come up with better solutions in less time.

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.


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.
Jake Knapp is the New York Times bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time. He spent ten years at Google and Google Ventures, where he created the Design Sprint process and ran it over 150 times with companies like Nest, Slack, Uber, 23andMe, and Flatiron Health. Today, teams around the world - from Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 500s to schools and governments - are using Design Sprints to solve big problems and test new ideas.

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.

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.
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.

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.


If your initial sprints fail, they may quickly fall out of favor with these influencers and leaders in the company. Truth is, no matter how much you prep, your first sprints will be rocky. However with options like the public workshops and customized in-house workshops, the really good news is that you don’t need to fall on your face to get started.

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.

Access to all the course videos, that not only describe the process in a great deal of detail, but also the mindset and very concrete tactics that you can put to work immediately. You also get access to all the bonus materials, including the Design Sprint cheatsheet, the preparation checklist, and facilitators toolkit, and lifetime access to the AJ&Smart Design Sprint community. As a student on the course you'll get lifetime access to all course improvements (we’re a big believer of continuous improvements, and you’ll get to benefit from this!)
The product person: 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. If any of these descriptions sound familiar then this book was intended for you.
We’ve designed the materials so that you won’t need one. We make everything as detailed and descriptive as possible so that you don’t need to ask a Mentor questions and wait for their answer, something that we feel breaks up the flow and could delay your progress. With this said, if you come up against questions or problems as you go through the course then we’ll always give you multiple ways to reach out to us to help, and we’ll happily do so 🙂
Tim Brown also emphasizes that Design Thinking techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of a business. Design thinking is not only for designers but also for creative employees, freelancers, and leaders who seek to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization, product or service in order to drive new alternatives for business and society.
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.

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.
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.
“Sprints begin with a big challenge, an excellent team — and not much else. By Friday of your sprint week, you’ve created promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype. That alone would make for an impressively productive week. But Friday, you’ll take it one step further as you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile: At the end of the day you’ll know how far you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.”
“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.”
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.
Are you looking for a way to introduce your team or organization to design thinking or this approach of a design sprint? Contact Darin at [email protected] for a design sprint training workshop to help your team gain awareness and hands on experience with this powerful approach to solve customer problems and design new products, services, and programs. We can also refer you to others who can help you with either learning for the first time or conducting your own design sprint.

In our Design Sprint Workshop we share  our experience from projects with focus on Design Thinking, Agile Developments, UX Design, and customer communication. We follow the Google Ventures framework for Design Sprints and prepare  workshop participants to use this approach. rom a promising idea to testing a finished prototype with real customers, . this approach enables us to achieve rapid, repeatable innovation cycles and make companies fit for their future and today's fast-moving markets. 
In employing design thinking, you’re pulling together what’s desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows those who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. The process starts with taking action and understanding the right questions. It’s about embracing simple mindset shifts and tackling problems from a new direction.
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.
The First principle incorporated in regular science is the "Design Thinking Cycle", which is new to the method. The cycle starts with you, envisioning the lives, dreams and anxieties of your customers. Then you define the problem you want to solve. After that you try to figure out as many solutions to that problem as you can imagine. Then you choose the most likely solution to be successful, you make a prototype of that solution and test its acceptance with your customers. Only after you have found a successful solution, you will invest in executing your business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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