A brainstorming exercise to consider the possible results of a particular decision, event, or trend.

My adaptation of Jerome C Glenn’s futures wheel
My adaptation of Jerome C Glenn’s futures wheel
My adaptation of Jerome C Glenn’s futures wheel

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If you’re like me, a typical day consists of a million tiny decisions that you’ve gotten really good at answering. “What should I eat for breakfast?” or “What Netflix show should I binge next?” But occasionally, there are some decisions that require more thought, either because they’re too complicated or just really…


“You are responsible for what you put into the world. And you are responsible for the effects those things have upon the world.”

― Victor Papanek

The Current Problem

Design sprints have fundamentally transformed the way we solve problems. There is no doubt that future products will be more useful because of what Jake Knapp has provided, but there is a crucial piece missing from the conversation. We need to be asking “What could go wrong?” with each solution we consider. The tech world is plagued by addiction and abuse, in part because designers didn’t consider the unintended consequences.

Solutions

So how do we…


Why design ethics matter?

20 years ago, the tech scene was, as John Maeda described it, “Undefined, aimless, driven by tech geeks who knew very little about design.” Guided by the mantra of “move fast and break things”, this era was defined by endless optimization resulting in products focused solely on increasing engagement and improving the bottom line. The well-being of end users was often the first to be sacrificed in these situations.

Looking at the landscape now, the effects seem obvious. From…


At The Zebra, we’re constantly running design sprints to solve our biggest problems. We’ve run roughly 15 in the past year and learn something new each time. (Here’s a look inside our process.) But one of the challenges we have now is running too many design sprints, often unnecessarily. To address the issue, I first sought to determine the cost of each sprint and then collaborate with the stakeholders on how to improve the efficiency of our process.

The Variables

For these numbers, I used the standard 5-day design sprint process as prescribed by Jake Knapp. …


Overcoming the challenge of distance during the design process

Introduction

As the nation’s most comprehensive comparison website for car insurance quotes, The Zebra faces a lot of competition. So it’s critical that our product design and user experience set us apart from the crowd, even when we can’t be in the same office.

That’s why design sprints are a top priority for all the product stakeholders. We use sprints to design new features, fix existing problems, and improve weak spots in our experience. Unfortunately, with our team working remotely, the process can be tricky. We’ve made a series of tweaks in order to address these issues and improve our results.

Matthew Stephens

VP of Design at The Zebra

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