A good idea is worth only 1 point. Nothing more. You can have the most brilliant idea ever and still, you’ll get only one point. You get a couple of extra points – five, perhaps – when you write down your idea. Ten points for drawing it. Fifty for actually sharing your idea and a hundred when you start asking for proper feedback. Now we get to the big leagues, where you get a whopping 500 points for prototyping your idea and testing it with your end users.
Now, you might think you’re done. You have a validated product and that’s all you wanted. Actually making your product or service a success will get you a 1000 points, but it isn’t easy. Often, your idea gets shelved because you don’t have the resources to create it right away: ‘Now is not the time’. Luckily, we can overcome this. Let’s see how we can get to that 1000, shall we?
So, it’s Friday. Congratulations! You’ve finished the Design Sprint and you open a beer to celebrate the hard work your sprint team has done over the last few days. Together, you’ve overcome obstacles and devised new solutions that nobody has ever thought of before. But now what? Your facilitator will send you a sprint summary, describing the events and output of the week. The product owner or manager will swear they’ll share next steps within a week. How exciting! This thing is actually going to get made!
Alas, revealed to us is the black hole of Design Sprints: a place where the gravitational pull of the non-agile organisation is so vast, that even light (or, in fact, forgotten moments of brilliance) cannot escape it. The Design Sprint results get shelved for a ‘more opportune moment’. Obviously, that moment will never come, for it is actually right now. It’s just not easy to get started. After all, for building the wild product or service you hatched in the Design Sprint, your organisation might not be properly set up.
The solution? If you really want to commit to your concept, make sure to allocate budget towards its further development. After a sprint, create a side track for your innovation, with a team and project lead that actually have time to carry on with the concept. This way, the project can get up to speed without being hindered by the burdens of day-to-day operations.
Validation, not affirmation
Sometimes, the result of a Design Sprint is not positive. Your users think your prototype sucks, or they’re not planning on using it. But that’s okay! During the validation, you got wonderful feedback on how to improve the proposition so that people will actually like it and want to use it. This will result in a better end product and potentially save you a critical amount of money you would otherwise spend on a product nobody wants. So, don’t shred your idea after a negative validation, but use the feedback to your advantage: do a second iteration with another round of testing. Watch how – suddenly – users embrace your proposition, simply because you learned from your previous errors and and you now understand your users. more deeply.
Practice what you prototype
When we do Design Sprints, people often assume that the prototype represents the final product design. In reality, the prototype is merely an instrument to fuel a dialogue between tester and user during the validation. To get your innovative idea off the ground, it’s essential to persuade your board to allocate budget towards development. Using your prototype as ‘proof’ may seem like an appealing prospect, but don’t forget that this prototype was designed to validate your proposition, not your UX or UI-design. Be wary of the goal of your Design Sprint. Your objective should never be a quick and cheap design for your idea. Instead, aim to learn whether your proposition fulfills real needs.
Bringing in the funds
Getting support and trust from the people handling your budget is important, but don’t forget the rest of your organisation. They, too, want to know what you’ve been working on! Share the results of the Sprints with a short aftermovie or a quick presentation. Making your results tangible will create the support you need to continue developing your concept. Making sure everyone involved has a sense of ownership about the product or service will go a long way to making your 1000-point dream a reality. In the end, it’s all about people.
Our top tips to get the most out of your Design Sprint:
- Give your team dedicated time for innovation to accelerate development without being burdened by your organisation’s day-to-day activities.
- When properly starting your project, forget about the prototype and get ready to design something wildly different.
- Validation is not affirmation. Validation results can be negative while the outcome is positive. Think about valuable insights, not about desired outcomes.
- Share the Design Sprint output with your team to create support inside your entire organisation
- The time is never not now. Your organisation is always ready. Believe in your idea, commit to it, be prepared to take risks and fail. Without a doubt, you will succeed.