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When we think about innovation and the way creativity comes about, Charles Leadbeater makes a valid point when comparing the traditional view with the human-centric view. In the traditional view, creativity happens because of special people, in special places (elite universities, R&D parks, innovation labs, etc.) who create special ideas. Their ideas flow down the pipeline to passive consumers to wait for approval or disapproval. Conversely, in the human-centric view, creativity is cumulative and highly collaborative. Ideas flow back up the pipeline and users are in fact the source of sizeable, disruptive innovations.

There is currently a big push towards moving from the traditional way to innovate, special people, special places, special ideas to more open, inclusive and collaborative models based on frameworks such as design thinking and design sprints. But this is no smooth transition, especially in the larger, more traditional organisations, and usually, there is a great deal of confusion on where to begin this process. …


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Evil 8’s during the Design Sprint Master Certification Program @ MacMillan Learning NYC

We started running design sprints in 2016 to help our clients build better digital products, faster. Since then, we have travelled the world and helped companies big and small incorporate this framework as part of their innovation toolkit. We facilitated design sprints for cross-functional product teams, marketing teams, production teams, sales teams, executive teams, and so on. No matter the industry, company culture or country, inducing the ‘fail fast, learn fast’ mindset is not as easy as it sounds. Even if it makes total sense in theory, it is complicated to apply it in practice.

There are multiple reasons for this, but one of the most important ones is the ‘pressure to perform’. In a world where we value outcomes and results, smart decisions and influential leaders, the pressure to perform causes lots of anxiety and stress. Anxiety triggers biases. When relying too heavily on biases, we end up following the ‘safe path’. Following the safe path means sticking with previous decisions and not experimenting anymore. …


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Design Sprints started at Google. Design teams used this framework to solve critical business problems and build better digital products. Because it was designers, who were the early advocates and facilitated designs sprints there is this common misconception that one needs strong product expertise and/or design skills to facilitate design sprints.

After training hundreds of professionals within the Design Sprint Academy, and running dozens of service, product and vision design sprints, we believe that being a designer is in fact, the least important criteria for defining a great Design Sprint Facilitator.


Based on Design Sprint & Problem Framing methods

Imagine you come across a great program, and you want to scale it through the organisation, or you develop a new service, and you want to sell it to your clients, but you don’t know where to start or what to focus on. You want to run with it but you’re still confused and uncertain.

No worries, with this 2h mini-problem framing workshop you will be able to gain clarity and make effective decisions, fast.

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A couple of months ago we were asked by a DevOps company, let’s call it “DevOps X”, to run a mini problem framing workshop to help them gain more clarity on their business needs and reach a decision concerning changing their business model. We only had a couple of hours for a face to face meeting, so we needed to make this session valuable with minimal preparation. …


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A successful design sprint means an engaged team dedicated to creating unique and surprising solutions. I believe “engaged” is the keyword in our story. In today’s world, everything is moving so fast, and since we are bombarded with more than 11 million pieces of information at any given moment, we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that the average human attention span is down to eight seconds from 12 in the last 18 years. The internet, technological advancements such as smartphones and video games have all played a role in this drop.

So how do you keep teams engaged, especially when you are facilitating remote design sprints?

Of course, it all starts with making sure the team members know and understand the challenge, the desired outcomes and their role and purpose as part of the sprint team. And they should also want to be there :). But making them pay attention and be present at all times is another story entirely. …


When testing hypotheses, people tend to only look for evidence that could confirm the hypothesis and overlook or deny the evidence that could disconfirm it. This is how the Confirmation Bias affects both the kick-off as well as the ending of a design sprint, making it one of the most powerful cognitive biases impacting a Sprint.

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But this is not the only bias we should be concerned about. Our decision-making process is also affected by:

  1. Affinity bias — The tendency to disproportionately favor individuals who are similar to us.
  2. Status quo bias — we prefer familiarity and resist change — “when in doubt, do nothing!” …


In my youth, I firmly believed in superstitions. If a black cat happened to cross my path, I would literally turn around and find another route regardless of how long the detour took. I believed in the popular myth that if a black cat crosses your path, bad things would happen to you. On top of that, I would also pay extra care when handling mirrors because I believed breaking a mirror would cause 7 years of bad luck, and I would also hope for rain on my wedding day so that I could secure a healthy and happy marriage. …

About

Dana Vetan

Head of Training & Co-founder at Design Sprint Academy https://ro.linkedin.com/pub/dana-vetan/15/712/36b

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