Video Series: Design Thinking

Learn How to Start Strong and Set Up Success on the First Day of a Design Sprint

In this seven-part video series on design thinking and design sprints, Paige Connor and Bob Poulin discuss the main components of day one of a design sprint. Planning and running the first day of a design sprint provides a basis is critical to the success of the process.

Part 1: The Long Term Goal

The series begins with discussing the long term goal, and how understanding what you hope to achieve guides the process of performing the sprint. Design sprints begin on day one, where the main focus is on creating a common understanding of the problem and setting the long term goal. 

This helps establish the reasons for putting the time and effort into this process and serves as a reminder of what you hope to achieve by the end of the design sprint. On day one, the first step in setting your long term goal is to identify the problem to solve and assemble the right team of people with key viewpoints and expertise.  

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Day 1- the Long Term Goal
Part 2: Setting the Sprint Goals

In this second installment they discuss how utilizing strategy to decide what we want to achieve throughout and at the end of the process can make all the difference.  

The sprint goals generally call for a more pessimistic outlook on the design thinking process, to ensure that all angles are being covered. This is the part of the process when the risks and roadblocks are addressed by considering each one and reframing them as questions. This activity will open up how best to address each one, prioritize them, and help the team step into the mindset for creating the most effective sprint goals.

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Part 3: Inviting Expertise into the War Room

In the third installment discuss how inviting expertise into the process is a game-changing move and asset to accomplishing your goals. Subject Matter Experts, also known as SME's, can bring unparalleled insight and perspective to the table.   

The room where your design sprint takes place is often known as the War Room, nicknamed as such because of the goals, notes, maps, and any other relevant visuals on the walls. Bringing in the experts for an interview or to review the will most certainly shed light on a previous unseen factor, or even circumvent previous attempts, using the opportunities to navigate towards a better solution. 

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Part 4: The How Might We

The "how might we" takes center stage in the fourth installment break down what it is exactly, when and how to use this key phrasing, and most importantly break down exactly why the words, "how might we" are specifically chosen. 

This phrase, applied to so many ideas and questions being generated by the team, truly unlocks how to move forward by framing each in the most useful and applicable way. 

Since its inception, this key phrase has become an integral component of the design sprint, helping shape ideas into useable questions. The "how might we" wording is a pivots a a raw idea by providing a framework for reshaping thoughts into a format directed towards addressing the sprint goals. 

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Part 5: Finding the Themes

The fifth installment talk about finding the themes in the How Might We's that have been gathered. As covered in the previous video, this key phrases break down why the words, "how might we" are specifically chosen. Now comes the time to expand on what happens after all the "how might we" statements have been created.  

The facilitator now has a very active role now, helping to organize themes that have emerged from the "how might we" portion of the design sprint process. Some of the "how might we" may be combined, eliminated, or pulled out for a future conversation. This stage is about bringing individual opinions together, team work, voting on ideas, and making decisions about themes. 

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Part 6: The Decider

In the sixth installment the discussion focuses on the decisions to be made. As covered in the previous video, the themes have now been identified in the collected How Might We's. The next step is voting on and deciding how best to reach the sprint goal based on these ideas. 

The build-up to this point is quite critical. Everyone has been individually contributing discussing ideas as they've been organized into separate themes. Now is when the team is getting close to the final stretch. The decisions being made now will dictate how the sprint Goal will be reached.

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Part 7: Lightning Demos

The seventh installment of our multi-part series on design sprints and design thinking wraps up day one with the day's final activities and preparing for Day Two. 

talk about how while day one begins with setting goals, it ends with preparation for the beginning of Day Two.  

This second day of the design sprint starts with bringing in ideas to inspire the creative ideas needed to achieve the goals set previously. 

Day Two forces the team to come in with the intention of being much more creative. The morning begins by presenting ideas from similar experiences and sharing how the solution was achieved, called Lightning Demos. This activity brings positive reinforcement to the forefront by recognizing as a group how to navigate towards a successful end result.

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