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  • Writer's pictureMasa Okunishi

What is a design sprint?

So if design thinking helps you think like a designer, what is a design sprint? It sounds like running fast with fashionable equipment, right? That would be fun to see but that isn’t what a design sprint is.

A design sprint is:

- a five day design process that helps you answer product problems

- a design shortcut that relies on fast, repeated prototyping and user testing from the later part of the Design Thinking methodology.

- a way to quickly spark innovations that consider what people need in a product

- The Sprint drops the bulk of User Research (Empathy and Define) to guess what the Designs should be via brainstorming sessions. It repeats prototyping and iteration over and over in a “Fail Fast, Fail Often” process.

What is the Design Sprint process?

Design Sprint is made up of five phases spread over five days: Understand, Diverge, Decide, Prototype, Test/Learn.

These closely align to the phases of a typical Design Thinking process of Empathy, Define, Design, Prototype, and Iterate.

Day 1: Talk to key business people& experts to Understand both business & customer needs.

Day 2: Diverge by sketching a lot of product ideas

Day 3: Decide on which idea to focus on.

Day 4: Prototype a simple, working version of the idea.

Day 5: Test one idea with customers and Learn what would make it better.

While Design Sprints sound like a good solution for any problem, it is not very useful when:

  1. key stakeholders and subject matter experts don’t possess enough understanding of the customer to inform a design.

  2. a problem falls outside of product design (like services or branding)

  3. an effective prototype can’t be produced in a day

Would you like to read more about Design Sprint?

Do you have a product, service or business idea? Join us for a Design Thinking workshop and learn how to make it real! Offered by @ifconnyc and facilitated by

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