Design Sprint

What are design sprints exactly?

A design sprint gives you a sneak peek into the future. Design sprints define, create and test potential solutions with users in just 4 days.

Our Design Sprint 2.0 combines elements of Design Thinking, Agile, Lean UX and behavioural science. It is an updated, improved and shorter version of the original 5-day Design Sprint developed by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures.


Who uses or benefits from design sprints?

In short, almost anybody.

Typically, business owners, senior leaders and people in product design and user experience (UX) roles use design sprints. Elsewhere, we’ve worked with leaders and Learning & Development managers in government and industry who are keen to support and train their employees in human-centred leadership, design thinking and problem-solving.

That said, we also work with faith-based not for profits, charities, the police, fire and emergency and individuals seeking to develop better concepts, products and services for their clients and users.


What is the value of using design sprints?

Design sprints save time and money, reduce risks, and secure buy-in from seniors, staff and stakeholders. In our experience, four-day design sprints can deliver better outcomes faster compared with longer and more expensive 12 – 24 week projects.

Air New Zealand, Xero, Fonterra and many more have found this to be true, and have used design sprints to get their tested products and services to the market faster than ever before.

Design sprints also develop and inspire your people. With each step, from investigating problems and generating and testing prototypes, your team learns new approaches that they can deploy over and over again.


I’m sold! How do I persuade our sponsors/decision makers?

A sprint helps a business design, create, prototype, and test a new concept, product or service with real users.

If we break that down and expand on it for your pitch or board report, the process provides:

  • Team ownership and shared vision of the scheme
  • A clear indication whether to adopt, pivot or rule out an idea
  • Increased confidence in your proposal or concept
  • Real user impressions and data to validate your idea
  • A direction for future development and improvements
  • Actual prototypes to attract increased funding or stakeholder buy-in
  • Maximised ROI through improved time to market


How about some examples of how to use design sprints in the real world?

Put simply, design sprints can help with:

  • Large software product development
  • Validating business or operating model
  • PC or smartphone app design
  • Organisational Development or change projects
  • Website development
  • Hardware products
  • Sales and Marketing strategies
  • Brand development
  • Business growth activities
  • New startup validation
  • Innovation and transformation programmes
  • Community and not-for-profit work
  • Digital transformation
  • Individual creative projects
  • Projects at government agencies

Past projects and initiatives we have facilitated include:

  • Impact of police operations in remote communities
  • Reduction in glasshouse crop damage and product loss
  • Encouraging greater use of te reo Māori in government agencies
  • Local council work planning and reporting improvements
  • Improved staff engagement about benefits and flexible working
  • Policy development in financial regulation
  • Strategy work in the security, family support and charity sectors
  • Developing a facilities booking portal for local government


Are design sprints the silver bullet for all our problems?

There are three broad situations where a design sprint doesn’t make sense, add value or save money:

  • Trying to validate or reverse-engineer an existing project that should have been dropped.
  • New concepts, ideas or pet projects that fly in the face of your values or your brand.
  • Tiny or trivial problems that don’t warrant the time and resources required.


It takes heaps of time and effort to prepare and run, right?

No. If you’d like to work with us, we’ll do the heavy lifting. Discussing and planning your sprint usually only takes between 60-90 minutes, and we’ll also help prepare, facilitate and follow-up. Most often, all you will have to do is:

  • Book out a suitable room or venue with a whiteboard and a projector or screen
  • Assemble a team of 5 – 7 people keen to work on the issue for four days
  • Secure a decision maker who can commit to attending the first two days at least
  • Clear everyone’s diaries for the duration of the sprint

We’ll work with your team to manage the details and stage everything to achieve the best possible outcome.