Design Sprint for nonprofits

Part of the Yoomee vision is to ‘help nonprofits innovate like startups to make the world a better place’. We take the best practices and tools used in Silicon Valley and use them with the good guys.

The Yoomee Investment Week is an opportunity to learn about and test new ways of working that can make us better at what we do for our clients.

We wanted to bring both of these together.

We used Investment Week to test how we can improve the way that we help nonprofits innovate like startups.

More specifically, we asked ourselves this question: Could we take the Design Sprint process into the third sector to help charities and nonprofits increase their impact using digital tools?

To answer this, we ran our own Lean Design Sprint to test the idea.

What follows is the story of what we did and what we’ve learned.

The problem

Charities and nonprofits have difficulty obtaining funding for new projects and ideas. They can’t be seen to be taking risks and they don’t have the in-house knowledge of how digital tools can solve their problems.

Solutions

In order to avoid taking risks, they often need to prove that an idea is worth funding which can take time and money itself.

Using Lean Startup principles, we want to help nonprofits test their ideas quickly to find the right direction that they should go in.

Our idea is to use the Product Design Sprint (invented by Google Ventures) to achieve this.

A design sprint is a five-phase process that uses design thinking to identify and test the riskiest assumptions of an idea by prototyping and testing them with customers.

The Team

  • Nicky ‘Forearms’ Bolt
  • Timmy ‘Five-fingers’ Brazier
  • Jonny ‘Two-shoes’ Kyte
  • Tony ‘Mumbles’ Barnes

Assumptions

  • Charities and nonprofits have a genuine interest in rapidly validating their ideas with a team of digital experts.
  • Running a Design Sprint can provide valuable insights that can be used to gain further funding.

What we did

We started by creating a Lean Canvas for our idea.

Our original idea was to run a Design Sprint on a fake product idea to test the process.

The Lean Canvas helped us quickly identify that our product idea was in fact the Design Sprint that we want to tailor to the third sector and not the fake product.

We pivoted.

Once we had our Lean Canvas we then needed to run a Design Sprint on a Design Sprint (or Design Sprintception as we called it).

Results

  • We’ve run through a Design Sprint and tweaked the process where we feel we can add more value in a nonprofit setting.
  • We have a Yoomee Design Sprints landing page ready to launch that will promote the idea and we will use to test the level of interest before we go any further.
  • We’ve developed a Design Sprint playbook using Trello.

In addition to this, one local charity has already expressed an interest in the process.

What we’ve learned

  • The Lean Canvas is a really great way to work out if your initial idea is worth taking further.
  • Copywriting is hard, but we applied some of the Design Sprint principles to it and made it easy.
  • We learned the Design Sprint process is fun (we did a mini design sprint and it was full of LoLs).
  • Design Sprint can be used with clients or just as an internal process on projects.
  • Design Sprint could work for a variety of problems; a social start-up idea, a new feature for a site, or a brand new product.

Next steps

Our very next step is to launch and promote the website. We will then take the time between now and the next Investment Week to measure the interest.

Our hope is that we receive enough interest to take an idea and use the next Investment Week to run a Design Sprint on a real-world idea or problem.

Interested?

If you’re a charity, nonprofit or social enterprise with an idea to validate or a problem to solve, head over to our Design Sprint website and register your interest.

Resources

Xtensio’s guide to creating a Lean Canvas
https://xtensio.com/how-to-create-a-lean-canvas/

Google Ventures Design Sprint
http://www.gv.com/sprint/

Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Sprint-Practical-Guidebook-Building/dp/1491923172/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463150914&sr=8-2&keywords=design+sprint