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Designer and entrepreneur Carla de Bona spoke at the ME B2B Summit to present Design Sprint, a creative methodology that is being widely used in the world’s major companies, including in their Procurement areas.

What is Design Sprint?

Created by Google Ventures in the Silicon Valley, Design Sprint is a learning shortcut. In other words, it’s a methodology to create, design, prototype and test a new idea within five days.

Rather than spending months in the developing process of a new product, for instance, Design Sprint makes innovation feasible in up to 40 hours of group work.

This technique is ideal for the era of exponential speed, as it offers businesses the chance to create something from scratch, in a short time period. No wonder it’s widely used in startups.

What’s the difference between Design Sprint and Design Thinking?

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Tim Brown, IDEO’s president and CEO, defines Design Thinking as “an innovation-centric approach that can allow designing with the help of a toolkit”. In other words, it’s the process of learning the philosophy and mentality of innovation, relying on the use of some specific techniques.

As to Design Sprint, according to the definition of its creator, Jake Knapp, it’s “a five-day process that solves critical market issues by designing, prototyping and testing with customers”. More than a philosophy, Design Sprint is an innovation step-by-step process.

We can find its perfect definition in an article of Medium magazine: Design Thinking is the cooking class, where you learn how to handle the food universe, while Design Sprint is the recipe that’s ready to go.

What are the steps of this recipe?

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According to Mrs. de Bona’s speech, the strength of this methodology lies in the possibility of promoting co-creation and collaboration among people.

For such purpose, it’s essential to bring together employees from different areas and backgrounds. The more varied the team, the richer will be the sprint process.

To begin with, you must define a Master Sprint, a professional that already knows the method, and will have the role of guiding all the participants. Then just follow the step-by-step process, which is composed by five phases:

1. Understand:

This is the moment to understand the problem and choose the target public.

2. Diverge:

Similar to a brainstorming, this is the step to provide ideas and design the solution – all of it done without any judgment and censorship.

3. Decide:

The goal here isn’t to arise competitiveness, but promoting a voting process, in order to choose parts of different ideas and stimulate co-creation.

4. Prototype:

It’s now time to activate the prototyping mindset “from perfect to just enough, from long-term to temporary simulation”. It’s also time to define the right tool to give life to your creation.

5. Validate:

This is the grand finale, where the idea will be submitted to real-world users. Jakob Nielsen, director of the Nielsen Norman Group, has developed a survey showing that 5 is the key number of people to test the usability of a product.

When to use Design Sprint?

While very tempting, there is no need to apply this methodology to solve all problems. After all, it’s not always possible to recruit people from several areas and postpone their tasks for five days.

That’s why Design Sprint can be used to help with three main issues:

  • To define new proposals;
  • When no solutions can be seen for a given problem, and a trigger is needed to “unlock” the mind;
  • At times when ‘time is money’ and you need to speed up the development process.

As we already mentioned, the Design Sprint methodology is a shortcut to learning, without the need of building or launching the solution.

  1. Support startups or business ideas
  2. Design a full functionality
  3. Define marketing strategies, new products and also help in the pre-projects of nimble teams.

If you are looking for answers to critical issues and believe that both design and speed matter, take a fling into Design Sprint.