Design Sprints for everything!!

From methodologies, rituals, products and services to experiences and disruptors, you can use Design Sprints to prototype and validate almost anything!

For those that don’t know, a Design Sprint is a time-boxed activity that uses design thinking and the design process to validate the desirability, feasibility, and viability of an idea through prototyping and testing with customers. Basically, test an idea to see if it will actually work with people. I wrote about Design Sprints here.

Design Sprints spur innovation through creativity and divergent thinking, matched with convergent thinking and validation using desirability, viability, and feasibility.

We’ve used design sprints in many different ways to achieve numerous outcomes lately. Design Sprints are founded in the process that designers go through in everything they do, and we use the design process to solve business problems on a weekly basis.

Here are some of the Design Sprint flavours we’ve come across recently…

Methodologies

Ever looked at a project and thought “we can’t run this like one of our typical projects”? We hear this quite often. The thing you’re trying to do has never been done before, and you don’t have anyone that’s an expert in the field, and there’s not that much information about what you’re trying to do.

In this instance we’d run a Design Sprint to plan out the approach and method you’ll use for delivery of the project. Don’t just rely on your project managers or schedulers either, look to people who are creative, others who have great attention to detail, and some who are innovative and are always trying crazy things.

Ideas

We use Workshops and Design Sprints to come up with ideas all the time, and these aren’t your typical stand around a whiteboard and brainstorm kind of ideas, these are next level ideas. To come up answers to the most complex problems, you have to articulate the problem well, explore the ecosystem that it exists within, and then get some people to work on it at the same time.

When you’re in the zone, and you’re coming up with crazy ideas, and there’s the lot of you, convergent thinking takes over, and you start to grasp concepts that you normally wouldn’t be able to. That’s how you come up with ideas to complex problems, together with other people.

Disruption Response

If the industry you’re in is about to get disrupted, or you’re worried about the amount of life left in your products or services, you should run a Design Sprint to try and disrupt yourself, before your competitors do. Pull together a team of your best people, get an expert Design Sprint facilitator, and explore every aspect of your customer needs.

The mandate of your team should be to identify the deepest motivator for why your customers use your product or service, and ideate their way into numerous other solutions. Then, after working some magic, the facilitator will help you with this, you’ll be able to build a timeline view of what the future looks like, and respond accordingly.

Products, Services and Experiences

By far the easiest and most common type of Design Sprint. These usually involve a lot of lego, play-doh, role-playing, cardboard, origami, and of course, whiteboards and post-its.

You’ll basically frame your five days around a focus question or design brief and then go for it. Exploring, ideating, prototyping, testing, refining, testing again, and then storytelling. Make sure you start with concepts first and then move into higher fidelity solutions.

Rituals

Creating rituals in your business is the best way to embed cultural elements, yet you can’t build rituals alone, so we’ve found that Design Sprints work really well to create, and embed, rituals that will truly change your culture.

Get a team of people who personify the culture you want, and ask them to run a Design Sprint with the purpose of creating “something that will bring everyone in your organisation together.” Then let them loose. We recently created a set of six rituals from ours, including Show and Tell Karaoke!

Whatever problem, idea, solution, opportunity or challenge you have, you’ll be able to learn more about it in a Design Sprint. Try one today!

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