Milan van den Bovenkamp

Publish Date

29th of July 2017

Running a Google Design Sprint is more helpful than you think

Setting up the scene for your team for a week, removing your phones from the scene and causing a scene is one of the most magical things you can do with your team. This is not a story on how a Google Design Sprint is done, that you can read in the book—it’s more about the results and reasons why you should do it (on a regular basis).

What the Google Design Sprint is

The Google Design Sprint is a shortcut to learn a lot about your business, product or service, without actually launching or shipping something. Use it for a process, software, hardware or a single feature of one of these things.

“The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at Google Ventures, it’s a ‘greatest hits’ of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.”

Google design sprint shortcut product service learn experience

Are you stuck in a limbo with developing new features. Or do you think your team does not move or ship fast enough? Book one week out of everyone’s schedule and make progress like you’ve never heard before.

Need help getting a new team member up to speed? The week sets the complete team up for a lot of uncomfortable input and output. Everyone can share their input and vote on what they think are the best ideas.

The process not only brings your current team closer together, it also creates the space for new or fresh team members to share what they have planned for the business or product. The process resolves around 5 simple steps, happening in the 5 days of a week:

  • On Monday, you’ll map out the problem,
  • on Tuesday, you’ll sketch competing solutions on paper,
  • on Wednesday, you’ll make difficult decisions and turn your ideas into a testable hypothesis,
  • on Thursday, you’ll hammer out a high-fidelity prototype,
  • and on Friday, you’ll test it with real live humans.

It’s so simple, it’s almost too good to be true.

Create opportunity for wild ideas

The ideas that come by are wild and out of this world, and with the framed progress there’s always a way to come back to the core vision and mission and test out these crazy ideas. During the week the creations of the brain are storyboarded, voted on and tested ‘in the wild’. Where they get the critical an honest feedback they so desperately need.

Don’t get too attached to ideas

To work on ideas and really finish a process together is a fulfilling feeling. The time constraints (just like Twitter with it’s 140 characters) work well for your creativity and let the people not get too attached to their brain farts. It’s easier to ‘kill your darlings‘ when you’re still in your creative mode.

Because the attendees come up with ideas and elaborate immediately on the ideas, the ideas are not set in stone, they are still freshly squeezed (sorry for the real world analogies ha ha). If you park an idea to return to it after a while—like a day, week or a month—the idea will have too much attachment because your mind will keep the idea active. Teams can then stagnate because everyone has their own fondness of ideas, and too much discussion about all those ‘brilliant’ stifles progress.

The Google Design Sprint promotes diversity, because the insights from all different worlds and backgrounds are heard.

Because most brainstorming often is done in groups, the loudest and most confident people often get to say a lot. Because of the strict but simple rules of Google Design Sprint everyone can have their say in the future of your business, product or service.

The Google Design Sprint even works as retreat. Lock yourself up in a new and productive environment. Fly everyone over if you’re a remote team and go tackle the idea like no one else can. It could work in your office, but also as a trip. If you do it, you can change the scenery, work outside the surroundings you usually work in. This can make it exciting to do since a new unfamiliar place can always tighten the senses.

Get the book, the kit, and go do it, or let us help you host it

Because of the open framework you can do it anytime. And if you’ve done a couple like I did, you can start remixing. You can also ask us to help you host it. Here are more use cases, here you can get the book. Just do it; it’s fun.

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