It was an interesting process just going through all the material in detail and envision how our first sprint should be when we actually start it. There was some pressure to get it right since the effort from the participants is, initially at least, to break free from day-to-day duties. This became very clear when we got started. It all went very well since we had great and popular facilitators alongside with a good subject. I was an observer the first day and got to be there during, to me at least, the most interesting day – problem day. The day you struggle to keep away from thinking about solutions, and that is hard work! After that day I got swamped with reality and had to pick up things pressing from work.
After observing the first day in the room I followed the whole process closely from the room next door and had frequent contact with the facilitators and reading all about it in the ongoing Slack channel. The energy generated during these days was very strong even if I was not in that room. Quotes like “I haven’t thought this much since I started working here” and “we need to do this on everything” confirmed that feeling I got from the room even if I was outside the actual sprint room. The process rolled on several weeks after the Sprint ended and it hasn’t died yet. Prototypes are still being produced and the search for the final solution continues. It will get there. No question.
What makes the GV design sprint actually work? It’s not rocket science with a standard design thinking process of problem – solution – prototype – evaluation. This is like standard form A1 in how you solve problems. But why does everyone get so excited and how come the solutions produced are really strong?
What is the deal with the Design Sprint process?
What I see is the energy. The energy from all participants. They all had different backgrounds and came from all parts of the organisation. Clear communication, same goal in mind, focused discussion and finally, teamwork. Teamwork as it should be. Strong teamwork. How else will you get that strong teamwork? I have never seen anything like it to be honest.
You get the challenge together.
You get to process the problem together.
You get to hear the experts talk and add to your story together.
Everyone hears the same thing.
Everyone is on the same page.
Everyone wants to hit the spot.
Internal competition around the sketches and solutions. This fosters a high energy level on individual level as well as on the team level.
You get to pull the (hopefully) best solution from the decision day to becoming a prototype.
You get to see that customer reacting on the solution exactly the way you anticipated. Or not. But you get to do it together.
This is what teamwork is all about. This is how you produce anything as a team as efficiently as possible. Design Thinking process executed in as an efficient way as possible, but with the enormous power of teamwork. That just can’t go wrong. No matter what the decider decided, the process has been processed and the team members was all part of it all. Sooo nice.
Daily design work
How can we as designers learn from this awesome process? Can we pick something from this intense way of working to fuel our own daily work? I sure hope so. For one thing, I think we can stop working so much alone. I think individual work is essential, but can we improve how we work together? We can pick up many parts of the Design Sprint process and inject it into our own ways of working. It just needs to fit the organisation we have at hand and not stop trying until we get something that fits us. Can we replicate the awesomeness of the sprint? Not fully, but we can get a lot more out of our own process if we lend from the design sprint process. We can get teamwork to work and produce things we never thought of was possible using individual work, along with efficient and well organised teamwork under pressure and deadlines. Since this is what we do for our every day, we could do product design sprints or new form factor sprints or just anything in between. The important thing to keep in mind is to stick to the main stages in the process. How you set it up just makes up different variants on time and level of efficiency.
More design sprints
We are planning more design sprints for February and March and I am really looking forward to them since we got some experience and lessons learned to build upon. These sprints will be even better than the first one. If not, then at least we learn from this formidable process.
Cover image from https://unsplash.com/@punttim