Design Sprint: The Innovative Method from Google

By Don't Panic
Design Sprint

A Design Sprint is a five-phase process developed by Google Ventures, which combines the principles of design thinking, business strategy, behaviour science, and innovation. When applied correctly, the process allows you to complete projects that would previously have taken months of back-and-forth in a single week. This allows you to launch new products, enter new markets, develop new features, and more, in a streamlined, cost-effective way.

Watch: Design Sprints Webinar

agile42 coach Dennis Becker sat down with Managing Director of ITR8 and Founder of We Start Academy, Philipp Scheller, in an agile42 webinar to talk about Google’s innovative Design Sprint method.

They covered the basics before diving deep into how to put the theory into practice in meaningful, effective ways. They shared their personal experiences with the method, exploring tangible, real-world examples. 

Watch the full webinar below. 

Five key takeaways from the webinar

1. Design Sprints vs Design Thinking 

“Design Sprints are Design Thinking on steroids”, remarked Philipp Schellar during the webinar. The two are not one and the same: Design Thinking is a mindset and way of thinking, while Design Sprints are a method designed to solve a specific problem in a short time. “It is crucial to be lighting fast,” Schellar continued. “This gives you the competitive advantage. It forces you to move forwards faster than anyone else”. 

2. Design Sprints are not always the solution 

It may be tempting to use a method that offers innovative solutions at lightning fast speeds, but the fact is Design Sprints aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are some situations where a Design Sprint is not an appropriate method for problem-solving. These include: 

  • Problems with very broad questions: The method is best used for highly focused problems
  • Problems that can’t be solved in a single week: The method is only suitable for the kind of question that can be solved in the five-day process
  • Companies who don’t know and understand their customer very well: Since a design Sprint takes place in such a short time-span, you can’t waste time figuring out who the customer is 
  • Minor improvements: Design Sprints are not suitable for very minor, narrow, specific questions.  

3. Empathy is important in a Design Sprint

So many teams create fantastic products, but forget that they’re creating something for people. Empathy is a huge asset in a Design Sprint, because it helps one to understand what the journey of your user looks like, who you are creating products for, how people are using the products, and what value they find in the products. Empathy helps you to understand these needs and desires and build something great that people actually want to use. 

4. You need to make sure you start with all your research done

By the time you begin the Design Sprint week, you should already have a good sense of the customer, the problem you’re hoping to solve, and the specific question you want answered. There is simply no time to do this research during the sprint week. 

5. It’s important to treat your body well during a Design Sprint

Innovation can be exhausting, and it takes a lot out of you to be fully invested, creative, and engaged for the full duration of the Sprint. It’s important to take breaks and move your body. “We are so brain-oriented”, Philipp Scheller explained, “we totally forget that we have a body”. Make sure you treat your body with kindness – move, breathe, hydrate, and eat well – and you’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think.  

Design Sprint Training

If you want to learn more about Design Sprints, agile42 offers Design Sprint training

The course is led by seasoned professionals whose expertise lies in empowering people with the practical skills they need to be sustainably successful in a digital world. We focus on agile transformation, innovation management, design thinking, and product management.

This training is aimed at anyone who has to master complex challenges in their daily lives. This may include Agile coaches and product managers, team leaders, project managers, people in sales, managers, designers, agencies, brand managers, and marketing teams. If you would like to improve your decision-making skills, learn how to better coordinate teams, streamline client relations, improve business processes, or innovate in your market, this is the course for you.