Part Four of a Multi-part Series on Design Thinking & Innovation
In Part Three of our Design Thinking series, we reviewed the benefits of design thinking and how its agility saves organizations on development costs in the long run. Here we will discuss the value of using design sprints as a means of creative problem solving.
Design-led companies know better than to try to solve every problem at once. They draw from a wide range of perspectives to focus on smaller, more achievable goals. When many different people are looking at solutions, we can increase the rate at which ideas are generated and introduce them to the market faster. Companies that value design thinking understand that these ideas don’t have to be perfect from the start, but that getting a prototype in front of users to get feedback quickly means spending less time fixing the product after launch.
How you accomplish this is through design sprints. A design sprint is a highly focused five-day process that quickly consolidates all phases of design thinking, focused on solving a single problem. Insights on end-users are gathered, ideas are developed, refined, prototyped and tested within a five-day period. The rapid-prototyping process is fast, but involves a full five days of each members' time. This can be a steep investment, but design sprints produce benefits in contrast to traditional methods of problem solving:
Less Risk, More Speed. Design sprints have a track record of saving teams months of back and forth emails, design, engineering and development costs. Sprints allow you to quickly work through multiple hypotheses to see if they are valid or if a pivot is needed.
Focus. When a team is highly focused without distraction, the amount of work that can be done is amazing. Design sprints allow every individual to be more productive under the guided structure design sprints provide.
Feedback before you build. The goal of a sprint is to build something that people will actually use. In a week you have concrete evidence for whether you are on the right track and meeting the needs of the users or not. With this feedback, you can make more informed decisions about how to move forward.
Collaboration of diverse skill sets. The best design sprints involve individuals from a wide range of roles in an organization. Each brings their own expertise and a unique point of view to the problem that ensures all departments are aligned on the goal.
Customers appreciate prototypes because they like to feel they have a voice in the development of a service or product. Organizations appreciate prototyping because until customers can interact with a prototype, most feedback is only conceptual. Prototypes are what make ideas into reality. They let users interact with “something", whether it is a product, a website, a marketing tagline, or even processes and vision statements.
Read more on Design Thinking and follow our new blog series on how Design Thinking and Design Sprints enable digital transformation as we prepare for the 2019 ASAE Annual Conference this August.