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“Wait… you mean we don’t have to wear wi-fi hats to do a virtual design sprint?”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of well written articles, carefully crafted videos and in-depth masterclass offerings on how to do remote work like a champ. In fact, most professionals now have a working version of their own ‘remote office’ in place, thanks to work-from-home mandates and other related policies that have only accelerated the practice.

When it comes to doing virtual design sprints, a lot of these recommendations with remote work and collaboration work very well. The tricky thing is navigating the design sprint methodology in an online environment. That can be extremely daunting for someone who’s never tried it before, but hopefully the Global Virtual Design Sprint this October can help a few people with that. …

October 5–30, 2020 🔥

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I’m very happy to announce the 5th Global Virtual Design Sprint (GVDS), taking place from Monday, October 5 through Friday, October 30. 😁

As always, there’s a lot to cover. New formats, updated offerings and even some surprise events. We’ll go over it all in this article.

🤫 (Psst…if you’re just looking to take advantage of some early bird registration (till September 11), skip the line and follow this link.)

What I learned from the last Global Virtual Design Sprint (4.0)

The grand experiment with doing an entire month of virtual design sprints last May made four things loud and clear:

  1. The pace of doing virtual design sprints + iterative sprints + experimental pretotyping sessions every week exhausted nearly everyone. …

Nope, not interested, no thanks, not right now, maybe later…

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What kind of pushback have you heard whenever you’ve tried to sell or pitch a design sprint process? Do any of these sound familiar as a buyer (or seller) of the process?

  • “We don’t have time to get everyone together for a full week.”
  • “We don’t have the budget right now, especially with the pandemic and all.”
  • “We already use an existing process for innovation and it’s working just fine.”
  • “We can’t get the right people in the room.”
  • “We tried it before and it didn’t work / couldn’t implement the solution.”

Those are all substantive and valid reasons to reconsider a design sprint engagement… and there are a lot more where that came from. Skill gaps, not knowing the process, political buy-in, workflow integration, and humans liking routine so much that they never want to change it… even if it’s horribly inefficient to begin with. …

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You can even choose what kind of VDS Master you want to be. Monkey is probably mine. 🐵 (c/o Dreamworks)

The last thing I expected from a recent LinkedIn post about getting small groups together to learn about virtual design sprints was a massive amount of attention and inquiry.

Yet, here I am… late on a Friday night… writing about it. 😁

Truth be told, I’d been working on a learning program for virtual design sprints for the better part of this year. But it wasn’t until the last Global Virtual Design Sprint (GVDS) where I slowly started signing up people to begin working on it.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’m writing this article to better articulate what I’m planning on doing with the Virtual Design Sprint (VDS) Mastery Program in the coming months. …

… and probably cost a lot less.

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Nearly all masterclass offerings are facades.

Paying a price for exclusive information or instruction does not translate or map to real world results. All it does is give you a library of really interesting information that you’ll temporarily consume and potentially apply. It’s the more expensive version of collecting physical books that look really cool but you’ll never take time out to read.

It’s the same thing as buying a signed Lebron James basketball. It won’t make you jump higher, and you certainly won’t score more. Other people might comment on how cool it is, and that’s always nice.

But it doesn’t make you LeBron. …

… and the sooner we realize it, the better.

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We’re witnessing and experiencing a sobering, transformative moment in our collective history. One that no existing generation today has ever seen or felt before. It’s devastating impact to our families, careers and livelihoods will be something we’ll never forget.

As of this writing, there are 422,829 infections of the COVID-19 virus around the world. This number is growing exponentially where I live in the United States, with our nation leading the way in both new cases and deaths.

You’ll need more than a few iPads to make this work.

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Ever since an unknown 55-year-old man from China’s Hubei province decided it might be a good idea to eat some exotic animal take-out, the world has been graced with it’s first kick ass pandemic since the H1N1 Swine Flu craze 11 years ago.

And just to make sure we’d have the most amazing pandemic ever, the United States government has literally dismantled almost everything that could have prevented something like this from happening.

… and it only took a pandemic to make it happen.

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I can’t keep up.

There’s been an incredible amount of inquiry on remote work and virtual sprinting in the past couple of weeks. So much so that it’s prompting me to drop everything I’m doing for the Global Virtual Design Sprint right now (which is sizeable) and briefly write about it.

Between invitations to round tables, network requests to expedite conversations or flat out RFP’s to convert existing operations into a remote environment, I’m easily buried in an avalanche of messaging, documentation and demands for my time.

And it’s been coming from all different kinds of professionals at various organizational levels. Functional managers, operational directors, strategists, finance CEO’s… all of them are asking about remote work, virtual design sprinting or anything in-between. …

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Fun fact: Some of the best network additions you’ll ever make are reconnecting with past friends and colleagues.

For the past two years, the organic reach of LinkedIn has been absolutely crazy.

If you’ve been paying attention and putting as much content as you possibly can to the platform, you’ve probably been seeing a lot of benefit from it.

One of those benefits is getting a whole host of new people (real and fake) to discover you and ask to join their network. While adding people blind is always easier, I’ve learned that caution and scrutiny make for better additions to my Linkedin account. …

Living in the golden era of customized design sprints

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When you know how to play your instruments, you can really make them sing.

“I just do not see anything new.”

When the design sprint methodology was really starting to gain some momentum in early 2018, the most authoritative figure I knew and worked with in User Experience (UX) wrote those words in a dismissive tweet about the process and it’s potential.

It was a curious response where… in the absence of wanting to understand the process, it seemed to expose a feeling of fear or avoidance towards something they perceived as a potential threat to their professional standing.

Given what’s happened since then, and what I’m about to write about in this article… that person’s probably going to be terrified. …


Robert Skrobe

I run Dallas Design Sprints, The Design Sprint Referral Network and Talent Sprints.

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