Design Sprints are a proven methodology that helps organizations quickly develop new, creative and validated solutions to problems that would ordinarily take months to solve.

 
 

Design sprints leverage the knowledge of your teams to surface new insights through a series of focused, collaborative activities and exercises. Design sprints accelerate learning by rapidly discovering, building, iterating and testing with customers. Getting you from idea to validated learning fast.

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The outcome of a design sprint is the immediate learning that comes from co-creation of a realistic “prototype” that can be tested with customers. Depending on your goal, prototypes can range from a Web page or App to slide decks, 3D renderings and even customer ready sell sheets or brochures. The key is to build a realistic enough example that will help you maximize learning by actually putting it in front of the people who matter the most - your customers.


“In five days we were able to accomplish what would ordinarily take us three months”

– Global Chief Marketing Officer - Consumer Electronics

What’s a Design Sprint?

Design sprints are a unique opportunity to bring together a diverse team from across your organization to collaborate on a problem or opportunity from multiple perspectives. The five step design sprint process encourages shared insight and engagement in new and powerful ways. 

 
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  1. Map - A design sprint begins by creating a framework for understanding the problem and situation. By “falling in love with the problem, not the solution” we find the best context and focal point for the sprint.

  2. Diverge – Instead of looking for an immediate, reductive answer, diverging means taking the time to investigate new possibilities through individual and team exercises that inspire creative exploration.

  3. Decide – After expanding the creative possibilities, the team defines and remixes top ideas looking for solutions that maximize learning, customer success and feedback. It’s also a checkpoint that ensures ideas are focused and no good idea is left behind.

  4. Prototype – After selecting one, or two, potential solutions we roll up our sleeves and bring the concept to life. Prototyping helps us learn by building an experience real enough to express our ideas to customers yet focused enough to gain critical learning.

  5. Validate – The final stage of a design sprint is customer validation or testing. Validation can include in-person testing, online testing or even role playing. Validation is about getting real, immediate feedback on fresh ideas. It’s about learning from and being inspired by your customers.


“Remote working together with Mural tool and excellent facilitation by Dan made the team members equal. I liked the fast pace of the work. It kept the energy level high and made the work more fun”

Nokia Design Sprint participant

design a new messaging plan

A global telecommunications company urgently needed to design the message for the launch of a complex new product. We developed and facilitated a series of design sprints starting with a concept sprint that defined and validated the core problem to solve, followed by a series of focused sprints to build alignment and apply the message across multiple service areas. The result: A highly flexible messaging platform ready in weeks instead of months.

explore new product ideas

A national construction supplier needed a new approach to build and maintain connection with valuable small accounts. A five-day design sprint with brought in diverse members from across the organization to design, prototype and test a new App concept. Uncovering customers’ unique problems and developing tailored solutions helped create a new opportunity for connection and loyalty.

collaborate globally

What do you do when you need to collaborate with teams and experts located around the globe? One option is remote design sprints. We have planned and facilitated remote sprints spanning multiple time zones that have built powerful collaboration opportunities for remote teams. Our unique exercises and experience have helped these sprints gain success within limited time frames and without face to face contact

jumpstart event design

An international audio manufacturer was running out of time and ideas ahead for its most important event of the year. Utilizing a cross-functional team and the divergent creative exercises of the design sprint we helped them rapidly define a theme, build ideation and validate a course of action. The result was a far more creative platform, rapid internal approval and a highly successful experience.

build customer-centric experiences

Research showed that customers visiting the Web site of a well-known audio brand were overwhelmed by the breadth of products and alienated from the brand’s core value proposition. Working with internal research teams we facilitated a design sprint to create a new user experience that would be more inclusive, informative and consistent with the customer journey. The validated prototype was applied to Web site and resulted in an improved experience in record production time and created a platform for continuous improvement.


“The design sprint enabled doing something ground breaking internally… when I combine this with our successful digital marketing initiatives, I know that this is meaningful to the business”

Asit P. Goel | SVP - Marketing and Communications, United Site Services

In-person design sprints

In-person design sprints are delivered across five or four day sessions. A five day sprint is recommended for first-time sprint teams with fewer prototyping or skills. Five-day sprints generally run six hours per day, allowing participants time to remain connected with the organization. While five days is a significant investment for any organization and key stakeholders, it’s been repeatedly demonstrated that the length and focus of five day sprints lead to the most transformative results.  

Four-day sprints are recommended for teams who have some prototyping or development experience. They are generally more intense, require a full commitment from all participants and can run for 7-10 hours per day. For successful four-day design sprints a pre-planning sprint with key stakeholders is recommended to ensure that the team can hit the ground running.

Remote design sprints

When critical team members are dispersed across time zones remote sprints can provide a highly effective alternative to in-person design sprints. Using collaborative whiteboard software and video conferencing tools remote sprints follow the same basic template as in-person sprints. Exercises and activities are tailored for deep individual work with frequent collaborative breaks to keep all participants engaged. A recent set of remote design sprints for a global telecommunications company included participants from multiple business units across 12 hours of time zones and yielded significant results. Due to their fast-paced nature it is recommended that remote design sprints are preceded by a planning sprint.

Planning sprints

If you are unsure of what challenge sprint should focus on, who your audience really is, which members should join or even if you need a design sprint its worth considering a planning sprint. Planning sprints help to quickly narrow down key questions and issues before you commit your team or discover that the questions you are asking may not be the right ones. Planning sprints are one-day sprints that generally last no more than six hours and should include at least two key stakeholders as part of the team.

Branding sprints

Startups, new internal organizations, new product groups and existing organizations often find that their brand and meaning can be outstripped by events, technology or simply even time. A branding sprint is a two-day sprint that helps organizations explore and iterate new brand propositions and directions before the costly and time-consuming work of naming, identity and logos. Branding sprints can help newly merged teams and organizations explore new ways to define and communicate their value. Branding sprints take place over two days, four hours per day and require a team of four to eight members including key stakeholders.

Customer Research

Design sprints success can be greatly influenced by the level of up front and post sprint customer research. If your organization does not have internal research capabilities or relevant up-to-date customer data, we can recommend experienced customer researchers who can support the specific research requirements of design sprints.

Design and prototyping services

Prototypes are essential tools of any design sprint. Prototypes can range from mock ups of apps or Web pages to sell sheets or slide decks. Should your team not have available expertise in prototyping we can recommend UX designers, developers or visual designers as needed.


“The sprint helped us quickly clarify and build a concept and story structure
that our entire team could agree on”

Product Marketing Manager

About Bricolage

I’ve been helping organizations innovate and succeed rapidly with design sprints since 2014. I’ve collaborated with teams to solve problems and uncover new opportunities for product development, marketing campaigns, trade shows, HR processes and store experience design.

I have over 20 years of experience in everything digital including strategy, marketing, innovation and transformation and have worked with a wide range of clients across multiple verticals including: Bose, Nokia, Amica Mutual Insurance, Pitney Bowes, United Site Services, CVS/Caremark and AIG. I’m also a Professor of the Practice at the Hult International Business School.

I love new challenges and am always inspired to show how design sprints can solve the most complex problems. Let’s talk about how a design sprint can get your great ideas moving more quickly. You can email using the form below schedule time for a call on my calendar.

 
 
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