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Google Design Sprints: a new technique for rapid product innovation

Design Sprints are more popular than ever before. How can the process help your team?

Design Sprints in action at Table XI

Google’s Design Sprint is a process designed to solve big problems in just 5 days. During the week you’ll explore the business problem, sketch potential solutions, build and test a prototype with 5 users.

Many flavors of discovery workshop have existed in the tech industry. However, none have seen the popularity that Design Sprints have.

Traditional discovery workshops are really helpful for framing the business problem, goals, opportunities and getting teams on the same page. However, the problem with discovery workshops is best illustrated by the following quote:

Your job is to build something people love, very few companies that go on to be super successful get there without first doing this … Making something that people want, but only a medium amount, is a great way to fail but not understanding why you’re failing. Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator

Our #1 job as product designers is to make products customers love.

The problem with discovery workshops is that they make a lot of assumptions about the product’s features, without involving customers in the process. In that environment, it’s impossible to know if you’re making the right product decisions.

Design Sprints enable teams to narrow their focus from the entire product to a single experience. By doing so they can explore a wide range of potential solutions and learn what works best customers.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the process works, please read my in-depth article on Design Sprints at Table XI.