Hacking the Design Sprint method to solve a complex problem

What we learned by adapting the 5-day Design Sprint approach to address a big challenge: flight delays

Creative and storytelling workspace

How can you create a process that enables the airline to analyze and solve their points of failure in 5 days?

  • Split the Sprint Team of eight into two Teams for all collaborative exercises
  • Share innovative ideas and inspiration from other industries
  • Plan two validation sessions with potential customers instead of one. This enables you to shorten the lead time to 2,5 days and run 2 cycles in 5 days
  • Do not do any usability testing or cognitive walkthroughs. Do concept tests to validate the value for customers instead, a different research method
  • Invest time to analyse the results of the 1st session in-depth with all the Sprint team
  • Focus the creative work on storytelling rather than the development of one single solution or prototype
  • Enable solution co-creation with the participating customers

If this was a research project spanning over a few months, which stakeholders would I interview?

Collaborative prototyping

The knowledge exchange is tremendous: people discover so much about how things work in their own company. This changes their perspective forever.

What are your ‘burning’ questions? What do you want to find out when you share your solution ideas with customers?

Concept testing session with storyboards
Stories with solution concepts being prepared for the ‘testing’ table

“We really needed that second validation session with users, because the solutions were not concrete enough when we did the first one. We learned so much in such a short time ”

“5 days was a really difficult commitment for us. But the benefits of this collaboration and being able to validate solution ideas made it worthwhile ”



Putting strategy and user-centered design at the heart of our approach. We are driven by users and thrive to provide them the best experience. Integrating business requirements and customer needs that drive design strategies for products, services, and businesses.

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Yanna Vogiazou

User research and service design specialist for social and environmental impact projects: designfollowsinsight.com