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.
The great beauty of design thinking is that the essential elements combine to form an iterative approach. It may not always proceed linearly, but there’s a roadmap to help move you toward your solution. It starts with identifying a driving question that inspires you and your team to think about who you’re really designing for, and what they actually need. Next, you gather inspiration—what other solutions out in the world can help you rethink the way you’re working? Use that to push past obvious solutions, and arrive at breakthrough ideas. Build rough prototypes to make those ideas tangible, and find what’s working and what’s not. Gather feedback, go back to the drawing board, and keep going. And once you’ve arrived at the right solution, craft a story to introduce it to your colleagues, clients, and its users. Some of those steps may happen several times, and you may even jump back and forth between them. But that roadmap can take you from a blank slate to a new, innovative idea.
Design Thinking is essentially a problem-solving approach specific to design, which involves assessing known aspects of a problem and identifying the more ambiguous or peripheral factors that contribute to the conditions of a problem. This contrasts with a more scientific approach where the concrete and known aspects are tested in order to arrive at a solution. Design Thinking is an iterative process in which knowledge is constantly being questioned and acquired so it can help us redefine a problem in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. Design Thinking is often referred to as ‘outside the box thinking’, as designers are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods – just like artists do. At the heart of Design Thinking is the intention to improve products by analyzing how users interact with them and investigating the conditions in which they operate. Design Thinking offers us a means of digging that bit deeper to uncover ways of improving user experiences.

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.
IDEO typically uses lots of different research techniques to generate insights around the needs of people including, but not limited to, observation, interviewing, immersive empathy, and exploring extreme users. Generally, the types of research you can do fall into three buckets. Generative research helps identify new opportunities and explore needs. Evaluative research gathers feedback on experiments and helps you iterate forward. These two types of research are focused on the future and new ideas. Traditional market research is known as validating research—intended to understand what is currently happening. Balance your research approach to focus on what’s happening now and what could be in the future.
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.
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).
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 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.
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?
‘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 →
Use tricks that force users to make real—not hypothetical—decisions. The goal of any new product is to create something that people find valuable and are willing to pay for over other options in the market. But as designers, we know that often what consumers say they like is different from what they actually buy in the wild. One way we bridged this gap was by testing demand with potential Swell consumers: We gave them fake cash they could “invest” in one product or another. It was a great way to gauge whether the service had real value in the market.
The course is totally self-paced and you can move through the materials at a pace you’re comfortable with. It’s our aim to make you Design Sprint-facilitation-ready as quickly as possible and we don’t want to waste your time with pointless exercises and tasks that don’t contribute to you becoming a confident facilitator, so we estimate that you can complete the course and be ready to facilitate your first Sprint within 2 weekends, without stress.
It’s not that people are being ignorant, there is just genuine confusion about what Design Thinking (DT) is and how it compares to other design processes. Rather than going into too much detail about how it DT compares to everything, I’m going to focus on how it compares to Design Sprints. This should clear up enough of the ambiguity so that it can be applied to anything.
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.
Philippe Antoine did an enticing job presenting the Design Sprint methodology on Google booth at Vivatech last June. What is Google Design Sprint approach? It’s a five days framework, combining Design Thinking with Lean Startup, to move from a customer problem to a range of creative ideas, and a tested prototype. In other words, it helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping, and user testing.

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.


Before consumers even had the opportunity to purchase the digital eyewear, Google announced in January it would pull Google Glass off the market. The company isn’t completely shattering Glass, but rather it’s putting an end to the “Explorer” program, which allowed curious developers to try out the product for $1,500. Google insists this is hardly the company’s last foray into wearable technology, but the original Glass has fielded overwhelming criticism since it was launched to the elite crowd in 2012. Glass’s (at least temporary) demise is a cautionary tale for technologists. In another light, it’s a ringing endorsement of design thinking.
This course teaches the entire sprint process. With the help of a real, practical example we take you step by step through the individual sprint stages. Experience how rewarding and challenging Design Sprints might be. After the course you will have an understanding of how a Design Sprint works, when it is applicable, and what upfront preparation is necessary. Moreover, we equip you with additional information on how to run your first Design Sprint and how to refine your facilitator techniques constantly.
Google has a reflective culture. Each year they review how they’re doing in terms of innovation and creativity with their Googlegeist surveys. They measure how their employees feel about innovation—do they have the right resources, the right team environment, and the right skills and mindsets? Based on the results, Google takes action to improve their 3 lowest scoring areas.
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.
To be successful at creating digital products you have to reduce the risk of failure but it's almost impossible to do that. Traditionally design leads have tried planning their way out of that conundrum. Only to find that no amount of planning can guarantee an outcome. In our lives we've been guilty of this too. Our grey hairs should stand testimony to the failure of waterfall and even Agile project management methodologies.
In an age of tight resources and constrained finances companies are more reluctant than ever to commit to big design projects without a thorough understanding of their chances of success. Google has developed a methodology to make the design process fast and still offer valuable insight. Forget minimum viable products and focus on prototypes and...
Curious about what makes a successful, innovative team, Google led a two-year research project with 280 teams. They found only one distinction between innovative and non-innovative teams—psychological safety. A team that has psychological safety is a team where people feel safe trying new things, openly sharing ideas, and bringing their full selves to work.
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.
Cons: They likely haven’t facilitated nearly as many design sprints or training workshops compared to the firms listed above. As a result, it’s quite possible that you get a lesser design sprint experience at a higher cost. If you are trying to get organizational buy-in for the design sprint process and your innovation/design firm doesn’t have the expertise to deliver a great experience, you may leave your organization with a bad impression of design sprints, making it much more difficult to secure leadership buy-in for future sprints.
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.
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.
So far, since the launch of the course in May 2016, 115 professionals from 12 countries and diverse industries ranging from marketing to manufacturing and consulting to software development, have opted for this course. Notably, the course has seen a whopping 89% completion rate, contrary to popular observations that online courses see dwindling participation after the first few classes.

Using the three basic premises of Design Thinking – Immersion, Ideation and Prototyping – and leveraging the creation of a multidisciplinary environment, Design Sprint is emerging as new way for accelerated innovation, where speed and innovation go hand in hand. Design Sprint is a smart track for fast experimentation: building on what Jeff Bezos claims -“If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you will double your ability to invent”-, Design Sprint mastering can bring a tremendous value to the company.

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.
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. https://res.cloudinary.com/practicaldev/image/fetch/s--gk0eqZrY--/c_imagga_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,h_100,q_auto,w_100/https://thepracticaldev.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/user/profile_image/64057/722ec19f-029b-479d-a34b-33cf27a5fe79.jpg

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 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.
Some of the scientific activities will include analyzing how users interact with products and investigating the conditions in which they operate: researching user needs, pooling experience from previous projects, considering present and future conditions specific to the product, testing the parameters of the problem, and testing the practical application of alternative problem solutions. Unlike a solely scientific approach, where the majority of known qualities, characteristics, etc. of the problem are tested so as to arrive at a problem solution, Design Thinking investigations include ambiguous elements of the problem to reveal previously unknown parameters and uncover alternative strategies.
What Google learned from their research is similar to what developed within IDEO over the course of 30 years where trust, purpose, and impact have evolved to become central to IDEO’s culture. There’s a focus on establishing trust and building relationships by designing intentional moments, which we call rituals. For example, IDEO’s weekly tea time ritual was designed as a way to encourage collaboration and “casual collisions”—a time when people step away from what they’re working on and connect with each other. Small, consistent moments like tea time are a prime way to deepen relationships and trust over time.
In just one exciting and eye-opening day, Sprintmaster Stéphane Cruchon will take you and your team through this revolutionary way of working. You’ll come away from this specialized condensed training program confident in your ability to facilitate your own Sprints, recruit the ideal team, and have a clear vision about testing and prototyping tools.
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!
In addition to encouraging curiosity and asking more questions, one tactic we use at IDEO to help companies evolve their culture to be more creative is what we call beacon projects—projects designed for teams to be able to break the norms of the organization. The role of these beacon projects is to challenge tightly held assumptions and processes and illustrate that new behavior is necessary to innovate. When teams or companies are deep in their industry, seeing and experiencing change will often increase their awareness to opportunities.

Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing the products or services. It helps us observe and develop empathy with the target user. Design Thinking helps us in the process of questioning: questioning the problem, questioning the assumptions, and questioning the implications. Design Thinking is extremely useful in tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing. Design Thinking also involves ongoing experimentation: sketching, prototyping, testing, and trying out concepts and ideas.


The Research Methodology used in in our Entrepreneurial Research is called the "Validated Business Design Method" which consists of two elements, i.e. a "Design Methodology" (look them through) and Research Methodologies. The Design Methodology that we will be using is called "Design Thinking" (read the article). In each phase of the design process, we will apply the appropriate research methods for that phase. The design method is characterized by a very confusing start leading to more and more focus in the end. 
Before consumers even had the opportunity to purchase the digital eyewear, Google announced in January it would pull Google Glass off the market. The company isn’t completely shattering Glass, but rather it’s putting an end to the “Explorer” program, which allowed curious developers to try out the product for $1,500. Google insists this is hardly the company’s last foray into wearable technology, but the original Glass has fielded overwhelming criticism since it was launched to the elite crowd in 2012. Glass’s (at least temporary) demise is a cautionary tale for technologists. In another light, it’s a ringing endorsement of design thinking.
In these fun, fast-paced, hands-on events, Sprint authors Jake and JZ 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 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. 

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.
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 might use a design sprint to initiate a change in process or start the innovation of a product concept. This works well when you’re exploring opportunities with the goal of coming up with original concepts that ultimately will be tested in the real world — for example, if we need to understand how young parents would buy healthcare products online.
Humans naturally develop patterns of thinking modeled on repetitive activities and commonly accessed knowledge. These assist us in quickly applying the same actions and knowledge in similar or familiar situations, but they also have the potential to prevent us from quickly and easily accessing or developing new ways of seeing, understanding and solving problems. These patterns of thinking are often referred to as schemas, which are organized sets of information and relationships between things, actions and thoughts that are stimulated and initiated in the human mind when we encounter some environmental stimuli. A single schema can contain a vast amount of information. For example, we have a schema for dogs which encompasses the presence of four legs, fur, sharp teeth, a tail, paws, and a number of other perceptible characteristics. When the environmental stimuli match this schema — even when there is a tenuous link or only a few of the characteristics are present — the same pattern of thought is brought into the mind. As these schemas are stimulated automatically, this can obstruct a more fitting impression of the situation or prevent us from seeing a problem in a way that will enable a new problem-solving strategy. Innovative problem solving is also known as “thinking outside of the box”.
The second principle is that of the well known "Short Cycled PDCA". For every action you take, use assumptions to you state the desired output of that action, the path you want to follow (process) and the required input of that action in time, money and other resources. Than you take that action, after which you reflect of the actual input, output and process. Were our assumptions right? Are the results as expected? Can the results be improved? Was the process effective? In short: Learn, adjust, plan again, do again and check again. These cycles can vary from a day to a week each. Do not plan to far ahead, because the assumptions and insights on which your planning is based will probably change several times. 
Today’s product designers face a question their predecessors—or even their younger selves—never had to ponder: Will artificial intelligence solve this problem in a unique way? More and more, the answer is yes, with the caveat that AI isn’t a universal solution but something that in the right instance can improve an experience, by offering people new kinds of predictive information, personalized services, or even a deeper understanding of their own needs. For designers, this technology glimmers with opportunity while raising a whole host of new questions: Is AI a material, a tool, or both? How can we become AI-fluent, to ensure that algorithmic decision-making translates into a meaningful experience for everyone? New guidance may help pave the way: PAIR’s People + AI Guidebook and Material Design patterns for the ML Kit API each offer tactics and advice for creating products with AI. “We’re setting up the scaffolding so our users can understand this new technology,” says Material Design creative director Rachel Been. Yet building that framework requires a thoughtful, nuanced approach that’s deeply rooted in human needs. We sat down with Been, Öznur Özkurt, a design manager at DeepMind Health, and Jess Holbrook, a PAIR lead and one of the creators of the People + AI Guidebook, to better understand how designers can harness and humanize AI’s vast potential.

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.
Tim references the importance of subtle behavior shifts, especially from leaders. One recipe for unsuccessful teams is having unrealistic time constraints. Teams miss deadlines, take a long time to iterate, and leaders get impatient. The way to flip this is to find ways to get to fast iterations and fast learning. The notion of what is failure changes dramatically along the time axis. The antidote of not being allowed to fail is to learn faster. It doesn’t feel like a failure if you learn in a week. 
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.
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