Design Sprint

Design sprint by Google Ventures: a shortcut to innovation

At Fronteer we help our clients enter new markets, create new products, develop new propositions and define new marketing strategies with help of co-creation. Clients often wonder aloud how to reach a solution for a complex problem, without spending a year on it? We organised a Google Ventures’ Sprint week to achieve results and innovate fast.

When we look at client briefings over the years the main topic is always: We want to achieve results quickly! Unfortunately, this often poses a problem for traditionally-run organisations. Innovation and research are set up in a stage/gate way, which results in (almost) never-ending processes of research, validation, testing, development and so on. At every gate, the right stakeholders have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Add to that the fact that setting up meetings takes time and it is fairly difficult to get all important stakeholders at the table. How is it ever going to be a fast innovation process? Exactly, never!

The Google Ventures Sprint

“The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.” (Google Ventures)

While reading Google Ventures’ Sprint book, we were amazed at how similar all the activities are to what we already do, but all (well, a lot) crammed into a single week. Wow! So instead of spreading out a project and finding moments to meet, to execute, to decide, you choose one week, clear your agenda, and go for it.

To give an idea on what the week looks like:

Monday is about mapping your challenge – What do we want to solve?

Tuesday is about sketching solutions – How can we solve it?

Wednesday is about deciding – What direction are we taking?

Thursday is about building – How can we show this solution to customers?

Friday is about learning – What do people have to say? What can we improve?

Sprint week at Fronteer

We recently organised our first Sprint and the results are great. As Google says, “Sprint gives teams a shortcut to learning, without the building and launching.” It gives the team a great amount of energy and the product is way better than we imagined at the start. Instead of ending up with a sketch of what the product might be, you end up with a working prototype. You can showcase this to all your stakeholders, potential business partners and customers. The team was so energised that, two weeks after the Sprint, we received a promo video they made themselves, in order to reach even more partners and showcase their new product direction.

As a strategist, I would recommend any team to use Sprint as a tool to get things done. Be it at the start of a project, when there is only a question and not a direction – to gain perspective on what is possible – or at the end, when the direction is chosen and you just want to accelerate your innovation process.

Check out other sprint stories here.