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.
The drawback of a design sprint is that it is a serious undertaking. Many organizations shy away from dedicating the energy of a team or even one individual for a full week straight. They tend to not take a focused approach and rather opt with weekly meetings, etc. A true design sprint will take a week! The good news is that you can involve another firm in helping you to run the sprint and many of these people will bring an outside perspective and experience with this sort of design thinking innovation approach.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.

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...

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.
In the Ideation stage, design thinkers spark off ideas — in the form of questions and solutions — through creative and curious activities such as Brainstorms and Worst Possible Idea. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best Ideation methods and guidelines that help facilitate successful Ideation sessions and encourage active part...
Design Sprints were once thought to be the exclusive province of startups and small organizations, but that is simply not the case. To the contrary, we are seeing massive organizations, public enterprises and government agencies rack up successes using this time-boxed method to overcome design and product roadblocks. Many of their stories are captured in the new book Enterprise Design Sprintsby Richard Banfield.
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.
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...
The course materials take you through absolutely everything, start to finish, but if you’re already a Design Sprint facilitator then you probably won’t need to go through all the exercises, but things like the presentation slides, cheatsheet, and prototyping templates will probably be the most useful stuff, and maybe hearing some of our learnings throughout the videos will also help you avoid some common mistakes and learn some ‘hacks’
Startups are notoriously fast-moving environments that value speed to market over almost everything else. This commitment to speed gives them an advantage but also risks leaving out a lot of the essential thinking and testing required to build a truly useful product. Too many products go to market without customer validation. How do you maintain the speed while including the necessary research and design thinking? Many startups in the Constant Contact InnoLoft Program cite a design sprint as one of the most valuable parts of their participation.
Richard Thaler, the Nobel Prize winning economist, talks about a mythical species that is real only to an economist. The Homo Economicus — he calls them Econ for short. An Econ is an extremely rational being and believes in maximizing utility with every decision they make. This is what a prototypical Econ looks and behaves like: I believe when we… Read More →
No special previous knowledge is required. The Design Sprint Master course builds on the Google Ventures Framework and Jake Knapp's SPRINT book. It is further developed by drawing on our trainers' experience of many sprints in large and small businesses. Although reading SPRINT is not a prerequisite, it will  offer advantages in being better prepared for the individual steps of the process.
Serial innovator, Nicolas Bryhas set up creative units for new business at Orange, Club-Internet, and SFR. He created crowd platform, Orange Studio for Intrapreneurs, and edits Open Innovation blog He’s an international speaker, coach for entrepreneurs & startups, innovation teacher at Telecom ParisTech, HEC & CentraleSupélec, and freelance consultant (ECC). Follow him at @nicobry.
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.