⚡️We help you move your business forward, innovate, and achieve tangible results in 5 days. It’s a promise! 

We compress months of work into a few days of effective, pleasant, and creative collaboration. We align your teams and deliver results quickly, even on complex issues.

We are pioneers in Europe of Google Ventures Design Sprint, a methodology developed by Jake Knapp at GV. Design Sprint is a “greatest hit” of design thinking and user-centered design (UX Design). 

Design Sprints are currently being used at some of the world’s leading companies such as Google, Uber, Medium, Slack, Facebook, The New York Times, Twitter, Dropbox, and Airbnb.

Our clients come from Switzerland, France, and the whole world. Each of them challenge and rethink the products or services of various industries including finance, insurance, healthcare, health tech, energy, government, and public administration.

The Design Sprint Process

The idea is, in fact, very simple. A small team clears its calendar for a week and dedicates itself to following the process, rapidly progressing from challenges to tested solutions.

Your team is actively involved in designing the concept for the first three days of the Sprint.

On day 4, our top-notch designers, along with some members of your team, will create a realistic prototype.

Real customers or stakeholders will then test that very prototype on day 5. We will collect and analyze the user feedback together to assess the potential of your concept. After the Sprint, we will help you take the next steps to move the project forward.

The Design Sprint Process

Happy Clients

REQUIREMENTS

  • An important and well-defined Sprint Challenge
  • A team of 5-7 people
  • a decision-maker (the sponsor of the project)
  • a dedicated physical space adapted for creativity

SAMPLE AGENDA

  • Monday: 10:00 – 16:30
  • Tuesday: 10:00 – 16:30
  • Wednesday: 10:00 – 16:30
  • Thursday: Designers 
  • Friday: 14:30 – 17:30

DELIVERABLES

  • On day 4, we will have created a high-fidelity prototype allowing us to test the concepts imagined during the previous days.
  • On day 5, we will present this prototype to future users or potential customers. The interviews and user reactions are filmed, and the lessons are captured using a scorecard.

OUTCOMES

  • Reduced risk and uncertainty
  • An aligned team and a clear strategy
  • Data to take important, informed decisions
  • Dramatically improved speed of execution
  • Clarity to the innovation process
  • Engagement and momentum for a key project
  • First-hand learning experience in User Experience design

What is the best team for a Design Sprint?

The key to the success of a Design Sprint is to bring together a small multidisciplinary team of 5 to 7 people. When we carry out the Design Sprint, we ask for active participation during the first three days of the workshop. We from Design Sprint Ltd. take care of the prototyping and user testing on days 4 and 5. All team members are then reconvened to discover the results of the Sprint either live on day 5, or later while watching the replays.

Case study: Discover how one of our design sprint workshops contributed to the creation of the new swiss neobank Yuh, a partnership between Swissquote and Postfinance.

Yuh, video case study

World-unique Design Sprint experience in eco-chalets on top of the Swiss Alps

Live the experience !

World-unique Design Sprint experience in eco-chalets on top of the Swiss Alps

Live the experience !

FAQ - Prepare the Design Sprint

The war room is simply a room in which the Design Sprint will take place. The war room itself is important as it helps set the atmosphere and functions as a place to post and visualize useful information resulting from workshop tasks (Post-Its, personas, experience map, “solution sketches” or mood boards …).

The Design Sprint is a 5-day methodology created by Jake Knapp and the UX specialists of Google Ventures. During a Design Sprint, we exchange ideas, outline solutions and design interfaces which, at the end of the week, allow us to build a clickable prototype of your future product.

The Design Sprint could not have existed without Design Thinking. Design Thinking was first conceptualized and taught at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley. Tom & David Kelley founded the IDEO company specializing in the design of physical products. Like many of today’s startups, they created multidisciplinary teams (ethnologists, designers, marketing specialists, etc.) to solve problems or design innovative products.

The 5 stages of Design thinking are:

Empathy: understand the context of the user
Define: define the problems encountered
Ideate: imagine new solutions
Prototype: create the most interesting solutions
Test: try it with real users and improve the product based on feedback

One of the things companies are struggling with when it comes to integrating Design Thinking is that it’s more of a philosophy than a true “out of the box” method. This is precisely the value of the Design Sprint.

The Design Sprint offers a very precise path, a timebox with a succession of clear and comprehensible exercises. Every day is rhythmic and the work progresses quickly. At the end of a Sprint, the results are visible and artifacts such as prototypes or videos of the tests can be presented to both internal and external partners. Design sprint leader will ensure that time is well used and that the return on investment of these 5 days is maximum.

The Design Sprint takes the principles of Design Thinking, and turns it onto an eminently pragmatic practice.

Short answer: yes.

For a first Design Sprint, we always recommend 5 days. The duration of 5 days is what ensures that a Sprint can deliver the maximum value. However, there is always a way to adapt and shorten the Design Sprint to your needs of course.

The Design Sprint takes a process that can sometimes drag on for months, and condenses it into just 5 days. We can compare a Sprint with a well-constructed recipe. If you take one ingredient away or skip a step, the result won’t have the same taste. To shorten a Design Sprint is to take the risk of missing an important stage.

The Sprint book was written by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky in light of more than 150 Sprints conducted with various companies. In our experience (more than 60 Sprints to date) we also validate the 5-day Sprint as the best for return on investment (ROI).

When is it ok to shorten Design Sprint?

A team that has already gotten used to Sprints led by an experienced design sprint facilitator can certainly reduce the Sprint to 4 days. In cases where a second Sprint is dedicated to the same project from a previous first Sprint, it might even be possible to shorten it to 3 days.

Finally, it is also possible to use and combine Design Sprint exercises to create Custom 1, 2 or 3-day Workshops. In this case, we avoid calling it a Design Sprints, but simply a User Experience (UX) workshop.

The 1-day Sprints referred to on our website are theoretical trainings (methodology) and cannot be compared to an actual 5-day Sprint.

Our 1 day Sprints are theoretical trainings (methodology) and cannot be compared to an actual 5 days Sprint.

No. A Design Sprint’s greatest strength, and what makes it truly exciting, is that it can be used for different types of projects and products.

The origins of Sprint are to be found in Design Thinking. Companies such as IDEO have widely used collaborative approaches to design physical products such as the first computer mouse for Apple, sneakers for Nike, kitchen appliances, furniture, and more.

For the last few years, our team has worked with more than 60 companies. We’ve facilitated Sprints within industries such as education, software development, tech, medical, luxury beauty care, energy, and security.

The first three days of the Design Sprint are the same for any type of product or industry. The three workshop days will allow you to design innovative products, new experiences, service design or even, in some cases, rethink how an entire organization works.
The last two days may differ depending on the type of the project. For example, we can successfully prototype retail spaces using 3D renderings, present a new customer experience through a video, or create a printed brochure to present a future product. In many cases, a clickable prototype simulating a website will give the product the necessary realism.

During the Design Sprint we will typically use just one day for prototyping. When a prototype is to be a physical object, it is possible to extend the time to two or three days, due to simple practical reasons (3D printing or manual labor hours). The key idea is not to waste any time and to prototype “Goldilock quality“.

In some cases, running a single Design Sprint can be enough. But it needs to have a very well-defined challenge and has to take place at the very beginning of the project.

  • A single Design Sprint can:
  • Kick-start a project and steer it in the right direction
  • Test the validity of a concept or hypotheses
  • Get support from the team
  • WOW and get the buy-in of your investors or key stakeholders
  • Boost your creativity and keep the good ideas

Test early, fail fast!

In other cases, Design Sprint will quickly identify a future failure of the product or idea. In such circumstances, it is obviously advisable to stop the project, or to plan a second Sprint to find solutions to the encountered problems.

The failure of the product does not mean the failure of Sprint! The real financial gain of a Design Sprint is the time you are saving on developing a product that has no future. Here lies the ROI of Design Sprint.

Deciders have a busy agenda, jump from meeting to meeting and are forced to multitask. Even if you are the one preparing the Sprint, the first reaction you will hear is “I do not have time”.

In many cases, Deciders lose sight of their field of expertise and no longer work with their teams directly. Although they have many ideas and excellent visions, they often have to delegate the execution to managers. A Design Sprint is the ideal solution for leaders to reconnect with their teams or to roll up their sleeves and meet the challenges of their businesses – as long as they take the necessary time for it.

Here are some tips on how to convince Deciders to try the Design Sprint:

  • Talk about the opportunity cost: why spend months of meetings picking up the pieces every time when they could spend 3 productive days with their team?
  • Mention previous projects on which you have lost valuable time on unnecessary back and forth.
  • Highlight that the Design Sprint has become the tool of choice to find answers to big questions among the most innovative and competitive companies at the moment (Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, BBC).
  • Present this as a change to the management experience. Try to work differently for a couple of days to get a fresh perspective.
  • Propose a good Sprint Goal: if the starting problem is important enough, you will have no problem getting your team together.

We have organized a large number of Sprints and can technically organize yours in a matter of days.
However, it is important to plan your Design Sprint in advance. Some months of the year are particularly busy, so we always recommend our customers to pre-book their dates in advance.

The benefits of planning a Sprint in advance

  • You guarantee that the agenda of important stakeholders is free and that they will be able to participate.
  • It is easier to find an available slot in our schedules.
  • There is less of a risk of having to split the Sprint and carry it over two weeks (it works, but it is way better to have 5 consecutive days).
  • You give us visibility, allowing us to organize the best team of designers / facilitators for your project.

In general, we are better available during school holidays and are always particularly busy towards the end of the year. Hence, we ask you to book at least 2 months in advance.

The Design Sprint can be compared to a recipe: Jake Knapp’s book gives you all the important steps, the essential ingredients, time indications for each exercise, etc. It gives the impression that it is an easy process. But as any good recipe it must be done by an experienced “cook” – an experienced Design Sprint facilitator – because the stakes are always high and the time of all the participants is extremely precious.

As a company, specialized in Design Sprint Methodology we bring an outside perspective, an authority, and an expertise

An outside perspective

An objective perspective is essential, especially when the stake of a Sprint is high and there are several currents of thoughts within the team.

An external team will dare to ask questions that are considered to be “dumb” or create tension and anger. These are the questions that unveil the real problems that need to be talked about and solved. The more “political” a Sprint challenge is, the more important it is to invite an outside Design Sprint facilitator.

An authority

As design sprint facilitators we are neutral, external and objective. Our role is to bring the team on the right path to reach the goal, control the time (using the famous Time Timer clock) and limit sterile debates. Is John, the senior VP, constantly speaking and preventing other team members from intervening? This will not happen during a Design Sprint facilitated by an experienced facilitator.

An Expertise

Facilitating a Sprint is a complicated task. With a 5-day workshop to moderate, a prototype to create, and user tests to host, there is no place for improvisation.

In the past few years, our team has conducted more than 100 weeks of Sprints on complex topics with major companies in Switzerland and Europe.

We constantly communicate with other experienced Design Sprint facilitators from all over the world in order to improve our processes. Finally, we keep a close contact with Jake Knapp, the creator of Google Ventures Design Sprint.

Philosophically, the concepts of Design Sprint and Hackathon are relatively close: Both describe ways of finding creative solutions to a given problem with a limited space and time.

In reality, Hackathons became mainstream events where the main goal is not really to solve a problem but rather to network. Many large companies are organizing Hackathons primarily for promotional or talent acquisition purposes.

Private vs Public

The Design Sprint consists of a small team of 5 to 7 people. A Sprint will typically have 4 experts of the subject and 3 outsiders discovering the issues and contributing new perspectives. While the number of people at a Sprint is limited, there can be thousands of people participating in Hackathons.

Hackathons invite people from the public to participate. The Sprint, on the other hand, is carried out by people of your company. This private setting allows you to tackle real problems in depth without risking a breach of confidentiality. The theme of a Design Sprint will never be vague or without clear purpose like: “How can we reinvent the City of tomorrow?”. A Design Sprint works on a tangible and defined challenge like: “How to regain the 1500 customers who left for the competition in the last quarter?”.

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If you are thinking of organizing a Design Sprint with us, need consulting or mentorship, contact Steph Cruchon, our expert facilitator, via [email protected] or book a chat call.


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Steph Cruchon