Design sprints are a framework developed at Google Ventures to 'validate ideas and solve big challenges'. They take the form of 5 stages - Understand, Ideate, Decide, Prototype and Test. Typically each of these steps should take up a whole day, but we understand that hiring a design agency for an entire working week, isn't within everybody's budget. At Influx, we have developed a slightly shorter version that takes up 3 days - any faster than this and it simply would not be possible.
A business can use design sprints to solve almost any business-related problem. Design sprints focus solely on the user's needs and usually need around 4-7 participants to see optimum results. We typically face common problems such as website redesigns, new website functionality and over-arching business goals (long and short-term). The sprint should always aim to solve ONE big problem and in some cases, this problem can adapt slightly throughout the sprint.
The more varied professionals that join the sprint the better, for example, if your company wanted to run a sprint, we would recommend bringing the main leader from each department, especially one from a customer-facing role. The insights into the customers pain-points and journeys are usually some of the most valuable insights that we receive whilst facilitating sprints.
What are the stages of a design sprint?
1. Map - this is all about everybody understanding the challenge at hand and ensuring that everybody is on the same page moving forward throughout the next stages of the sprint.
2. Sketch - the next stage is similar to brainstorming. We will try and throw out as many ideas as possible within teams to start with (none too big or abstract). This idea stage is inspiring and very much aimed towards potential solutions.
3. Decide - the third stage is a democracy task. After we have gone through all the various ideas, we will discuss in further depth, ask any questions and then make our minds up about our favourites and why.
4. Prototype - once we have narrowed it down to one idea that everybody agrees on, we will start moving forward - it's then time to start building a 'quick n dirty' prototype. The prototype will usually take the form of a digital product such as an app or a website but can be something physical in other instances.
5. Test - the last step of the process is to test your prototype with a small sample of four to five real life end-users. After the testing has taken place, we can then analyse how the prototype performs and either develop the real thing or slightly iterate it and test again depending on the outcomes.
Other questions you may be wondering
A. Although on the surface the design sprint fundamentals may seem a little extensive to some, the results that this framework has produced speak for themselves. Many of the world's best apps such as YouTube, Gmail, WhatsApp, and Snapchat have all used the design sprint approach to solve big problems and gain clarity on the best route to take with their platforms moving forward.
Q. When am I likely to see a return on my investment if I decide to run a design sprint?
A. Admittedly design sprints can be a little costly for some businesses, but the return on investment you will see will pay for itself in the long-term. If you do things right in the first place, then the chances are you won't have to do them again. Design prints prove their worth as one of the most worthy frameworks within the design world in recent years.
Interested in this for your business?
We offer a free consultation meeting to assess your business’ needs, so there's no need to worry if it all sounds a little overwhelming to begin with.