How Do You Perform Day One of a Design Sprint?

Part Five of a Multi-part Series on Design Thinking & Innovation

Design SprintsIn Part Four of our Design Thinking series, we reviewed the benefits of design sprints and how rapid prototyping enables organizations to get the direct feedback they need to improve their solutions. Over the next several weeks, we will go in-depth to discuss each individual day and how they should be carried out as well as what the outcome from each day of the methodology is. Here in part five, we'll provide an overview of how Day One of a design sprint works.



Simply put, Day One of a sprint is about identifying and understanding the specific problem you have. A common cause of organizational friction is the lack of understanding and alignment across departments and disciplines. Creating a cross-departmental group of participants with different perspectives before commencing the design sprint ensures the team will work collectively to develop the best solutions.

The critical first step in Day One is to clearly outline the problem and share all relevant data and information with the entire team. The facilitator must make sure everyone understands the long term objectives of the sprint, why they are taking on this project and what this project means to the organization, their department, and their role.

With the objectives of the sprint discussed, break into teams to discuss the different parts of the problem. To gain the fullest perspective on the nature and root causes of the problem, encourage all members to participate. Once the problem is dissected by the teams, group each team's notes thematically to prioritize elements of the problem to focus on.

Next, map out the user's journey to pinpoint areas of friction and highlight how user interactions are impacted by the problem. The map gives your team a visual outline of the steps to help them align the organization's process with your audience's expectations and provides the team with a roadmap of the problems before the team begins brainstorming solutions in Day Two.

Day One is an opportunity to examine your assumptions and reframe them as questions using the How Might We process. Turning problems into questions of possibility with HMW makes issues easier to approach and encourages participants to break out of typical patterns of thinking.
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