Stratetek: Modifying a Design Sprint for a Funded Start-up Pitch

Jeff Rabkin
Jan 26, 2017 · 4 min read

This is a story about a GV style design sprint. If you’ve never heard of that, you can learn more here or read the book.

Stratetek’s founder Mark McNitt invented a new portable engine half the size and weight, but with the same power as a conventional gas engine. He had a couple of prototypes and a patent. This thing was really cool. He even won the prestigious MNCup award for best new startup. The product development was moving along but Mark didn’t have much in the way of branding or positioning. The engine didn’t even have a name. There were so many potential markets and applications for for this product, he didn’t know where to start.

One very promising market was the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry. Think drones and stuff. Mark called Wowza immediately upon receiving an invitation to pitch his engine to investors and potential customers at a big conference in the booming UAV space. To participate Mark needed a video, a PowerPoint presentation, a trade show display, printed handouts and an updated website. And he needed it all by the next Friday. Most people would say that was crazy.

Thankfully, we had been experimenting with design sprints. So we were pretty confident that it could be done. It’s amazing what a focused group of talented people can accomplish in a short amount of time. The process we followed deviated from the standard process in several ways. The biggest difference: putting more time into creating the prototypes. To make the extra time for prototyping we cut out “ask the experts” and “lightning demos” Another big difference was to use the 5th day to work on prototypes. We used the actual conference to test the prototypes instead of a manufactured scenario.

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Monday

By the end of the day we had a strategy, a name, key messages and talking points and the bones of a story for the video. All in one day. And it was pretty good too.

Tuesday

Wednesday

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Some of our quick-turnaround brand collateral

Thursday

Friday

The Test

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