Concept Sprint: Diverge to Converge

Rochele Melo
May 29 · 4 min read

Lots of ideas! It always starts like this. You have one challenge, a precious opportunity to make a big change, to bring something awesome to the world, and what you do is to jump directly into the solution. Just to see that your ideas don’t fit or are not appreciated by your target customer…

In Byld, we #TrustTheProcess, we know that working hard and deep in the problem discovery phase is the best recipe to achieve great solutions, those that will stick and solve real problems.

However, after this awakening period, one ends up with lots of charts and personas (a Design Thinking tool), too many potential concepts and beloved ideas (everyone in the team always has a favorite child). But how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or simply to prioritize in order to be more agile and work on the ideas that matter the most?

During the discovery phase, we have as many interactions with customers as possible, we dig in to understand their problems and motivations, while we are wide awake looking around for similar situations that can lead us to better understand the context as a whole. Only after this, when we went fully immersed in the problem, we are ready to jot down rocket ideas.

Coffee and smart friends generating ideas!

And we don’t do it all alone! We love to invite friends and experts to playfully have ideas with us, while laughing, learning and exercising creativity. At this point, we know that the more the better. Crazy ideas, rough concepts, and many post-its on the walls turn up to be an immense and fertile list of potential solutions.

Here is where the magic comes. We want to share with you what we did a few weeks ago when working for a fascinating project with Coca-Cola, converging from 49 broad thoughts to 4 awesome lines of solutions to be validated afterward. The list needed to be shortened, the remained ideas clusterized, the broad concepts developed and then prioritized.

Post-it party!

Besides our daily sprints (loved by our CEO!) there is another sprint we are big fans: Design Sprint. In order to achieve in one day the convergence we needed, we performed a short version of a design sprint, based on the acclaimed book Sprint by Jake Knapp, focusing on the rough ideas development and prioritization steps. Six of us working together, one day away from the office, where we could disconnect and be 100% present on the purpose ahead.

Our first activity aimed to narrow down the long list of ideas we had (to be honest the first activity involved food…). Considering some parameters as: fit to the challenge, ease of implementation, wow effect, scalability, and heartbeats (yes, we believe intuition matters!) each of us voted in 5 ideas from the list. Only 5. And the voting didn’t require debate. The idea was to make it very straight forward. From this, we were able to downsize the list from 49 to 12 ideas, being left with only the most voted ones. Realistically, we had 16 voted, fortunately, they were so similar that we could merge some of them together to reach the number 12 threshold.

Then came the hands-on moment, each of us was assigned 2 ideas to develop in more detail, filling in a template: choosing a catchy name, 8 steps to be drawn (yes, anyone can draw), how it would work and some general information (potential barriers, target group, special advantages). A limited time of 30 minutes for each idea. Particularly, it was a moment I loved the most, I felt I was in the flow, focused on how these ideas could turn out to be real businesses.

Once we had the 12 templates fully filled, they were displayed on the floor (our way to go as we couldn't find a wall big enough for our creativity!!) so each of us could take a look and mark those we liked the most and get to know the scheme, before they were presented (it was also a pit stop pause!). It is necessary to say that all this time we were not debating about the ideas, asking questions or trying to understand everything. Here, the silence was our friend.

Templates + Concepts + Suggestions = Collaborative work!

After that, the ideas were presented, within 3 min each, by one appointed colleague, so the owner wouldn’t try to pitch its own idea. There were 2 min for further explanation if the owner wanted to point out something that wasn’t said. Here again, no debates. Those that had ideas to add on, to suggest, questions or concerns, would note it down on a post-it, and stick it on the template to be further discussed. Of course, we broke our rules a few times (you know, rules are meant to be broken!).

While the sketches were being presented, they had been clustered according to their similarities, just to give us an estimated idea of how many core concepts we were dealing with. Finally, we achieved the final voting! Each of us voted in 3 concepts that made us reach 4 main solutions.

These were the solutions presented to our dear partner. Needless to say, they just loved it!

This is a true story of how to allow creativity to flow within a process in order to make it turn out reality. Among our values, we embrace #GroundedDisruption, which is for us feasible innovation.

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Byld

We create handmade startups combining startup's agility, flexibility and culture with corporation's muscle, experience and resources.

Rochele Melo

Written by

Proud generalist. Process believer (and rule breaker). Listen more, say less. Collaborative and participatory system. Innovation and social justice lover.

Byld

Byld

We create handmade startups combining startup's agility, flexibility and culture with corporation's muscle, experience and resources.