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February 22, 2023

The Power of Design Sprints: A Fast and Collaborative Way to Innovate with ZEAL

Lisa Panke

&

UX/UI Designer & Webflow Developer
Buffalo, NY

Are you tired of hitting roadblocks while trying to brainstorm fresh ideas for your business or tackle complex problems at work? Fear not, because we have an exciting solution for you: Design Sprints 🏃

Homer Simpson running happily

In a nutshell, a design sprint is a structured and fun process that enables you to quickly prototype and test new ideas with your team. By tapping into your collective expertise, you'll be able to come up with innovative solutions and receive real-time user feedback in just a couple of days.

But wait, there's more! To ensure that your design sprint is a success, you'll need a skilled facilitator to guide you through the process and keep things on track. That's where we come in! At ZEAL, we would love to help facilitate your next design sprint and make sure that you have a blast while achieving your goals.

So, are you ready to supercharge your creativity and problem-solving skills? Let's dive in and discover the exciting world of design sprints together!

How Design Sprints Can Benefit Your Business

Why should you invest time in a design sprint and how is it going to benefit you and your company? Design sprints have a wide range of benefits, but here are the most interesting ones:

Rapid Prototyping and Testing

The compressed time frame of a design sprint allows teams to quickly develop and test prototypes of their ideas, receiving valuable feedback from real users early on in the process.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

A design sprint brings together a diverse group of experts from within an organization to collaborate and brainstorm solutions, promoting cross-functional teamwork and aligning teams toward a common goal.

User-Centered Approach

The design sprint approach integrates user feedback and testing throughout the process, which leads to more user-friendly solutions.

Hand holding a sticky note saying "Usability Test"

Efficiency

The design sprint process allows teams to solve problems, create new products, or improve existing ones in a much more efficient way than traditional methodologies.

Creativity

The design sprint approach encourages creativity, by providing a structured process to generate new ideas.

Reduced risks

By testing and validating assumptions early in the process, a design sprint reduces the risks of costly failures.

Convinced? Then let’s have a look at what a design sprint looks like.

Outcome and Steps of a Design Sprint

So here is what we are going to do:

Understand the Problem

Map out the problem and pick the most important area to focus on. During the design sprint, we are interviewing all stakeholders and make sure, that we understand the problem to its core before we come up with a solution. We think about how we might be able to solve the problem and base our ideas on the stakeholders’ input.

Get Creative

Sketch out all solutions on paper. Next, we are asking every team member to choose a solution and sketch it out. Often, we focus too much on one solution and run with it without taking the time to brainstorm and ideate with different people from different backgrounds. During the design sprint, everyone gets a voice and all ideas are seen.

Sketching Ideas

Decide

Make decisions and turn your ideas into testable hypotheses. Not only does your team vote, but you get the final vote when it comes to goals, solutions, and the final prototype, that we are going to test with users. During the design sprint, we make sure that decisions are made based on the most important sprint question so that no one loses focus during the process.

Prototype

Create a prototype to test with users. When was the last time your team built a prototype within 3 days? We are going to help you to accomplish that so that the solution with the most votes can be tested with real users, who give real feedback.

Test

Get feedback from real live users. Getting feedback directly from your users helps you to validate your idea before you spend time and money on building it. Launching a feature without prior checking how customers react to it can be risky and could compromise the impact of your solution. So let’s not do that.

How Fast You Want to Sprint

The design sprint entails a bunch of fun, but necessary exercises to get to the root of the problem, figure out a solution, and run with it.

4 Day Sprint

This process can take 4 days in person or remotely with 4-7 people on your team (a mix of people is key!). Even though it’s nice to have all team members present for 4 full days, we only need their full commitment during the first two days.

4-Week Remote Sprint

Is that a little bit too much of a commitment? Since ZEAL is an all-remote company, we also offer all-remote design sprints, which take place over a period of 4 weeks. The benefit of this 4-week period is, that we can talk to all key stakeholders in your company during a period of 5 full days and schedule those interviews according to their schedule. We prepare all sprint participants thoroughly during the first week, and we allow us and your team to iterate on the results of the first sprint in week 3. In the last week, you will receive documentation of the outcomes including a clearly defined long-term goal and the next steps for you and your team.

But it doesn’t have to stop there! As an experienced software agency, we see our role as not only facilitators but also as partners, working closely with your team to achieve success. We’d love to support you with the implementation of the results after the sprint as well.

Let’s sprint together

What’s so great about design sprints is that they encourage teamwork and collaboration. By bringing together people with different skills and perspectives, you can come up with solutions that you might not have thought of on your own.

"Let our powers combine" from Captain Planet

So next time you're trying to solve a tough problem or come up with a new idea, consider giving a design sprint a try. It could save you time and help you come up with some seriously creative solutions.

The best thing? You don’t have to do it alone. ZEAL is facilitating the design sprint for you with a trained facilitator, who learned from industry leaders like Jake Knapp and AJ&Smart.

Are you curious to give it a try? Then let’s talk!

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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