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Design Sprint workshop is one of the trendiest product/design buzzwords you’re hearing these days. Rightfully so. It was initially designed at Google Venture and is defined as:
The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, design thinking, and more — packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
I went in length on what Design Sprint is and how you can benefit from it in both of those articles.
To bring you up to speed, the effectiveness of Design Sprint lies in its NO BS attitude. Some of the advantages: cut the endless discussions, control the big egos in the room and give room to shy people to express their ideas. It also imposes a strict time frame on every step of the process and offers clear end-results by the end of each step.
The thick notion behind Design Sprint workshop is that it’s lengthy and expensive. Let me go in depth on each of these two points and break them down for you.
Is the 5(or 4)-day Design Sprint workshop lengthy?
Short-sided answer: YES / Educated answer: NO
Many have talked about the danger of jumping quickly into the implementation of a solution that was not verified carefully. Arriving at a problem-solution space upon which you can lay the foundations of numerous products and services requires an in-depth, cutting-edge, and iterative study of the tensions and goals behind the enterprise. I even argue that holding only a one-time Design Sprint workshop is not enough. The results must be challenged even more.
Then, let’s rephrase the question and see if our answer is changed. Is it an effective strategy to take as much time as needed to verify the problem-solution space thoroughly to avoid hitting a dead-end later on?
Yes, it can be expensive if your business is at its infantile stage. For other businesses, no.
Investing 5k for a week of intense work knowing that you’d be ready to risk 1M in funding by the end of the process? Only 0.005% of this total funding sounds like a great investment to me.
If you break down the Design Sprint, you’ll know each day has its own applications. Here’s the rough run-down of what happens during each day:
Day-1 is about investigating the problem, mapping the system, defining and prioritizing the areas with high potential for further investigations, researching the possible problems and taking notes.
Day-2 is about sketching and prioritizing different ideas for further mock-ups and creating storyboards out of the final solutions.
Day-3 is about prototyping or making a fake product which will be tested during the next day.
Day-4 is about testing the (fake) product with selected users and gathering feedbacks.
When we work with clients, depending on what they have done prior to our collaboration, we’d either run a full workshop with them or adjust it to meet their needs.
Let me walk you through a recent workshop we did with BookAStreetArtist.com. They wanted to gain clarity over some of their biggest assumptions and needed a rigid, clear process to help them do so. They were not ready to develop the entire solutions at this stage and they only were interested in simplifying their path going forward. Consequently, I diagnosed that they only needed a day-1 medicine.
By studying their case, I adjusted the Design Sprint workshop to verify their assumptions and guide them to a clearer state of mind. The results?
We’re a creative studio based in Berlin and our clients span from industry leaders to promising startups. We noticed that these companies are not stingy when it comes to praising the Design Sprint workshops. Indeed, it represents for them and for every busy and buzzing company the perfect problem-solving process; timed, quick and results-driven. Feel free to discuss with us if this article resonates with you to some extent.