After half a decade of Design Sprinting with forward thinking innovators, we asked ourselves: What’s next for the Design Sprint? And how can we use our extensive experience to contribute to that future?
What we like about the Design Sprint
At Go Weekly, we believe that companies can innovate smarter by putting their next digital product idea in the hands of users before anything else. Transforming abstract strategies into tangible product experiences. An approach that is heavily inspired by the Design Sprint method that Google applies to their ventures.
A Sprint is a fast and condensed way to solve digital business challenges using design, prototyping and feedback from real customers. Instead of spending months of time, you get results within a week. Although a validated digital prototype is the key output, the real win of working together in a horizontal, multi-disciplinary team, is innovating faster by aligning the knowledge and problem solving power of various departments.
How we have customized the Sprint approach
After running well over a 100 Design Sprints during the better part of a decade, we’re now applying our experience to other types of tailored Sprints. These Design Sprint inspired projects focus on strategic, conceptual and team related challenges. We found different ways in which to amend the methodology to our clients’ needs while preserving the mindset and aspects that make the Design Sprint such a successful tool for innovation.
These core principles remain the same no matter which Sprint we run:
- Sprints are focused and time-constrained.
- Sprints include a small, multi-disciplinary team.
- Sprints avoid group think by “working together alone”.
- Sprints deliver visual and tangible output.
- Sprints validate with real end-users.
Where Design Sprints usually focus on a product related challenge, we have decided to tailor our approach to three focus areas: Strategy, Concept and Team. Each with a unique process. With customizations to steps, duration (from mere hours to a full week or even longer) and output based on the challenge at hand.
You might notice that we tend to focus on the acceleration that the Design Sprint approach brings to the table. We feel that our, mainly corporate, clients benefit most from simplifying complexity and building momentum within their organization, which is encouraged by a certain pace in innovation. Though very important, for us, the ‘design’ in ‘design sprint’ is always a means to an end and never the goal in itself.
Our Strategy Sprints are high-energy innovation sessions with leadership teams to envision and plan for the future. We discuss strategic topics such as vision and mission, new business opportunities, brand and marketing and digital trends.
The nature of participants in these kinds of Sprints is a little different. Usually, company leaders have strong opinions. Using certain elements from the Design Sprint can help facilitate decision making and accelerate alignment on a crystallized vision. A typical Strategy Sprint won’t last for an entire week due to obvious reasons but it shows how much you can achieve in a mere couple of hours.
With our Concept Sprints, we solve big challenges and co-create new products or features. Bringing an idea to life in one week using design, prototyping and feedback from real customers. We distinguish between three versions of the Concept Sprint:
- The Sprint Original most closely resembles the original Design Sprint process.
- Our personal favorite, the Sprint Special, goes beyond the book to add flexibility and conceptual expertise.
- Usually we recommend to build on the momentum and Sprint Again to polish or pivot the product concept.
Our Sprint Special in particular tweaks the Design Sprint process. With only 3 workshop days and 2 days in between for us to expand on the team’s ideas. Leaving more time for busy teams with impossible calendars and adding more substantive elaboration by our experts. Adding an agency-style client experience to the mix. This is why we always run our Sprints with a strategic facilitator (someone with a strategic background that can also run a great workshop) and a concept designer (a conceptual thinker that happens to be an amazing visual artist).
When the strategy and concept are in place, more often than not, we get asked the question: And now what? That’s where our Team Sprints come in. Coaching teams to implement a Design Sprint mindset to improve their way of working. Additionally, we offer Design Sprint training for client teams to master the method themselves.
For many clients, a Sprint is the first step towards an agile mindset. Together, we put the process into practice. From the theory to expert insights and hands-on tips and tricks. It’s an approachable in-house training experience.
What’s next? Labs and more
Sprints excel in solving very focused but complex challenges. We understand that many of those challenges are part of a bigger strategic ecosystem that involve many related business questions. This asks for a more elaborate solution. Therefore, we’ve started to experiment with new ways to combine the best elements of our Sprints into a packed multi-week innovation program.
Our first attempt is the Opportunity Lab. A tailored 4-week program to get ahead of the competition by finding big opportunities to grow your business proactively. It’s a way for proactive companies to anticipate changes that will inevitably occur in their industry. Staying competitive by preparing for those changes with innovative ideas at every level of the organization. Together, we find and act on big opportunities within the Lab.
In the coming months we’ll continue to experiment with other themes that might benefit from this multifaceted approach to optimize our Labs.
In a more recent attempt to tailor our Sprints, we have tried to find a solution for a more prominent issue. With everything that’s going on in the world, we know that many find themselves in the new reality of working remotely. Collaborating together, even though we are physically apart. And to be productive while working from home, with all the distractions that come with it. Let alone workshopping and running Design Sprints.
As a small but global company, we, at Go Weekly, know what it’s like to work with remote teams. Therefore, we offer a unique remote Sprint experience. Using state-of-the-art tooling and a flexible state of mind.
New Sprints, new website
To reflect our renewed belief that companies can innovate smarter by putting their next digital product idea in the hands of users before anything else, we have launched a new website. It features all our updated Sprints and further details on how we bring ideas to life with tailored Design Sprints. In other, more popular terms: we go from napkin to prototype in one week.