In this article, we’re going to be talking about a powerful method for solving difficult challenges in your business. That method is called design sprints.
Design sprints are traditionally from the world of UX and product development but here at Ventur we use them to facilitate workshops to solve important brand problems with our clients. Notice how I said “with” our clients and not “for” our clients? Sprints are not about consulting and advising but rather about facilitating and exploring, so this method works best with a fresh outside perspective.
By doing things this way, an unbiased facilitator can quickly and effectively align teams of people to uncover a viable solution to almost any problem.
Let’s take deeper look at what design sprints are and how you can use them to solve brand challenges.
The idea behind a design sprint is to create something tangible in a short period of time that can be tested with real customers, rather than spending months planning it out before anything has been created.
Here at Ventur, our design sprint framework follows a 5-day process where we facilitate a series of meetings, workshops and games with our client to help solve a specific business problem. The workshops we use change each time and are tailored to the problem being solved.
The ultimate goal of our design sprints are to achieve these four things:
The possibilities for problem solving are almost endless. The really cool part about design sprints is not what we solve but HOW we solve. See the issue is that when we’re children we like to explore and try new things. Our naivety and curiosity leads us to more innovative solutions than we could ever dream of conceptualising as adults.
But then… school happens.
At school we’re given a series of black and white questions with answers that are either right or wrong. Moreover, there’s typically only one way to get to that right answer. This conditions our brain into thinking patterns that are linear and chronological. We call this “convergent thinking”.
There’s a time and place for this. However, there’s another more powerful way of thinking and solving problems, and that’s “divergent thinking”. This approach gives our brains freedom to explore in a more free-flowing and agile way, allowing for multiple creative solutions to the same problem.
"The really cool part about design sprints is not what we solve but HOW we solve." - Kaine Levy, Founder of Ventur
Design sprints harness the power of both divergent and convergent thinking to help teams collaborate towards a viable and validated solution.
Sounds pretty amazing, right? It is. Let’s discover how to do it.
Design sprints can come in a few different flavours, approaches and timescales. Sometimes you might need to create something, other times you might need to commit to a direction, or maybe you need to collect information. It might even be a combination of multiple things. The approach required will depend on the problem being solved so make sure the whole team is on the same page.
Let’s dive into the framework we use at Ventur which can be completed in just 5 days. Within that time we will have defined a problem, created solutions to that problem, and tested them on real people for feedback. This is the quickest, cheapest and most effective way to discover winning ideas without wasting resources committing to the wrong thing.
Before we jump into the sprint process, we have a 1-hour meeting with the client to learn about the brand, the people behind it, and the challenges they’re currently facing. By understanding the context of their situation, we can create a design sprint with the right workshops needed to achieve their goal. Then we get into it…
Understand your brand and what it stands for. Think about who's opinions are important and gather different perspectives other than your own by using a method like the Six Thinking Hats (eg. stakeholders, customers, employees, governing bodies).
Decide on a clear problem to solve. Phrase the problem as a "How might we..." question. By leaving it open-ended you open the possibilities up for more creative solutions.
Brainstorm creative ideas. Use different exercises to come up with ideas that people can vote on. Then select the best idea (or combination of ideas) that you can build a prototype for.
Build a quick and cheap solution. This could be a tangible product, a web page, or even a simple storyboard that you can get customer feedback on.
Test that solution on real customers for immediate feedback, then present the findings to the team. After this you can either begin investing in and building the real thing, or you can go back and test another idea if the first one fell flat. Either way, you will know what to do or what not to do.
Of course! Running design sprints internally can be a really powerful way to align teams. It’s also a great way to build communication between departments who would otherwise never speak!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Running a design sprint is no easy task. We always recommend bringing in a third party facilitator to help the process run smoothly, keep everyone on track, and bring out the best ideas. Remember, the whole point of doing this is to save months of time and investment on an idea that is doomed to fail from the get-go.
You now know what a design sprint is, why you should use it, how to run it, and who should be involved. We’ve equipped you with all the tools you need to solve your business challenges or innovate your next big idea.
If you’d like to hire our team at Ventur to facilitate your next design sprint, get in touch.
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