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What is a Design Sprint?

Posted by:
Finbar Mulholland on 01/10/2018

tags: Digital, Design, Sprints

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Design Sprints; what are they and should you be running them?

‘Sprint’, a New York Times Best Seller by Jake Knapp quickly stirred up a lot of buzz in the creative industry by introducing a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and idea testing.

But, what exactly is this five-day process, and should you be actioning it during your project planning? As a design and branding agency in Reading, we seek to unpack these two fundamental questions, helping you understand everything there is to know about Design Sprints and how REDBOT can help you run them!

What are design sprints?

Before we dive right into the five-day process, it’s best to understand exactly what design sprints are. Design sprints were born out of Google Ventures and were initially developed to help start-ups address critical business challenges. Although, Google Ventures have gone far beyond just offering a way to define and kick off some form of digital project. Google have created a highly structured five-day process with activities defined for each day, helping participants come up with actionable solutions for their projects.

Still with us?

The five-day process

If you feel a little bombarded with all this ‘technical talk’, it’s best we break down a typical design sprint run, to help you gain further understanding of the process as a whole and how REDBOT can help run these sprints for your business.

Monday: If you choose to run a sprint internally you and your team will work together to identify the ultimate goal of the sprint and map out your challenge for the week. Alternatively, to save your time and money this is where REDBOT comes in. We’d work closely with the experts at your company, sharing knowledge so that your end goal is a manageable one. Working closely with you through every step of this 5-day process.

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Tuesday: After you’ve successfully identified the problem and chosen target/goal for your sprint, it’s time to focus on the solutions. You and your team should start exploring a variety of solutions by looking at an array of inspiration and in turn start sketching various approaches you can take.

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Wednesday: By Wednesday morning you and your team will have a stack of solutions. But, remember due to time you can’t prototype and test them all! So, it’s time to critique each solution and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving your long-term goal. Once you’ve narrowed down your solutions it’s time to weave the wining sketches into a storyboard. Essentially a step-by-step plan for your prototype.

Don’t panic, remember we’re still here for guidance and support!

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Thursday: Once your storyboard is created it’s time to turn your it into a prototype. During this step Jake Knapp suggests adopting a ‘fake’ philosophy, after all a realistic façade is all your need to test your prototype with customers. Essentially this step is just turning your storyboard into a working prototype designed to mimic the final approach!

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Friday: By Friday you’ll have created promising solutions, chose the best and build a realistic prototype. You have to admit, that in itself would make for a pretty productive week! But Knapp suggests taking it a step further as it’s time to interview your customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This step enables you to collate quick answers to your most pressing questions right away- perfect right?

But what are the benefits?

Design sprints are being widely adopted by many agencies, especially when working with new clients. Their ability to break the pattern of committee-based decision making that is so prevalent in many organisation, helps encourage original thinking through experimentation.

By carefully planning, sketching and prototyping, you and your team reduce the cost of failure of your project and are able to try new things along the way. And, combined with user testing at the end of the week, your chances of proving your final solution viable in reality certainly increases.

If these benefits haven’t swung you yet, then we’re not quite sure what will!

So, ask yourself this all-important question, ‘should I be running design sprints?'...

...our answer to you is inevitable, yes!

Working with us

If a design sprint is something your company is considering running, but you feel like a little guidance is something you’re in need of, REDBOT is here to hold your hand through the whole process. As a design and branding agency we’ll lead you through your design sprint to address any challenges you feel you might have, in a bid to gain something tangible as a result!

So, If you feel like your company could do with some guidance when it comes to running your very own design sprint, REDBOT is a design and branding agency based in Reading offering invaluable strategic advice and design sprint knowledge. Contact us on 0118 206 2910 or email us at hq@redbot.uk to find out more about how REDBOT can help your business.

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