You’ve probably heard of Design Sprints by now (and if not, make sure to check out our previous blog). They’re quickly becoming an integral part of the innovation process used by successful businesses across the world.
But you might be wondering: how can a Design Sprint help me and my business? You may think you’re too small, or that you don’t do the kind of work that would require a Design Sprint. However, we’ve found that Design Sprints are useful in a huge number of situations and almost always offer benefits, no matter what your business does.
So, in this blog we’ll take a look at some of the reasons that our clients have come to us for Design Sprints, giving you an idea of just how versatile this service is.
Before we begin though, let’s do a quick recap of what Design Sprints are, for those who may not know already. (If you’re already familiar with Design Sprints, feel free to skip this next section.)
At the most essential level, a Design Sprint is an intensive, short period of design work, in which you take an idea from fruition all the way through to prototyping and user testing. It’s an innovative process that’s perfect for getting into a design thinking mindset and reducing the risk of your project - whatever that project is.
Design Sprints are flexible and may look different from company to company, but generally they’ll be broken up into 5 stages:
- Exploring and understanding the problem
- Creating design solutions
- Choosing the solutions that fits the brief
- Creating a realistic prototype
- User testing
A larger project may consist of multiple sprints, but a sprint should always have a tangible result.
Now that you have an idea of what a Design Sprint is, let’s look into the different situations you might encounter where they could help you.
When testing new operational processes
Let’s say you’ve got an idea for a new business process. You think it might make you more efficient and save your team a lot of time — but you’re not 100% sure. In this example you could use a 5-day Design Sprint to really test out that idea with a focussed team that represents the people who will be involved in the final process. After just 5 days you can have the process thought out, put together (in a presentation for example) and tested with users.
When you’ve got an idea, but it’s risky
Reducing risk is one of the key benefits of a Design Sprint. If you’re embarking on the development of a new product and it requires a large investment, then a Design Sprint can help to de-risk the project. By applying design thinking principles, you can quickly build a prototype of your product and test it with users. In one or two sprints you can make sure that any potential failings with the product are highlighted, as well as any UX issues. You can even repeat the sprint process throughout development to test any hypotheses that crop up during the process.
When you have a need for speed
Got a project that needs to be finished yesterday? We’ve all been there! When you need to accelerate a project, it’s easy to let speed be the enemy of quality. With a Design Sprint however, you can get critical thinking baked in at the start of the project, quickly allowing you to progress to the next stage more quickly and confidently.
When you need to cut through to the heart of a complex problem
One of the underrated outcomes of a Design Sprint is simplification. When you’re trying to solve a complex problem for your workplace — whether it’s operational, research or production based — the design thinking approach of a Design Sprint can help you quickly get to the heart of your challenge, and devise a usable solution, all in a short space of time.
When you know your problems, but can’t find solutions
Formulating solutions to your business challenges isn’t easy — and sometimes pinpointing your challenges isn’t easy either! You can use Design Sprints to help clarify both your most important challenges and the solutions to those challenges. By getting critical team members together you can use a Design Sprint to look holistically at your business and identify sticking points, and which challenges would give you the highest impact, with the lowest effort to solve. Then in another 5-day sprint, you can create a prototype of an ideal solution!
Hopefully these use cases have shown you that Design Sprints are a supremely versatile tool, capable of helping you move forward at pace in a huge variety of situations.
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