Design Sprints and why they’re awesome!

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Design Sprints go from being something new and neat the start-ups did to something major organizations are doing more and more. We’ve been doing them for years, and we thought we’d share a few of the ‘what’s and why’s’ behind the use of sprints in our work with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

So, what is a design sprint actually?

It is, in short, a method to answer critical business questions and challenges through design, prototyping, and testing ideas, drawing on the relevant experts and stakeholders. It’s a method developed by Google Ventures, and it’s actually referred to as a form of ‘greatest hits’ of design thinking, innovation, behavior science, and business strategy all packed into a 5-day process that any team can use. It sounds simple, and, like everything else, once you’ve got it down, or got an expert to help, it’s an insanely effective way of working on a project.

A brief overview of the 5 steps in a design sprint

For the sake of transparency, we thought we’d outline the process overview here, for your perusal. The framework is divided into days - or steps if you like. They are as follows:

  1. Map - this is where the challenges are revealed and broken down. 
  2. Sketch - this is where the primary challenges are picked out and possibilities are, well, sketched out. 
  3. Decide - this is where decisions about which ideas to move forward with are made.
  4. Prototype - this is where the prototype of that, or those, ideas are designed and made
  5. Test -  this is where the prototype is tested on the target group, feedback is collected, and the prototype is adjusted accordingly. 

Design sprint by Google Ventures, from the book Sprint

Design sprint by Google Ventures, from the book Sprint

Why and how we work with design sprints

We’ve probably all been there - working on a project that drags on, no decisions are being made, and the whole thing just sort of stagnates. And yes, that can happen in a design sprint too, but, in our experience, that’s an incredibly rare thing, exactly because of the framework that comes with the design sprint itself. 

Our, rather simple, take on the whole concept of design sprints is that it is a method of getting somewhere, a framework for progression. We use sprints to help our clients create concrete concepts and implementable solutions. To test ideas on the end users. And as a process to include people in the process of developing the business they're in. It’s a flexible framework, and we’ve done loads of design sprints that are tailored specifically to each client. What we’re trying to say is, if you need help with any digital project, odds are that we’ve done something similar, and can help you get it off the ground. Sounds wonderful when we put it like that, right?


Heidi Mønnike Jørgensen

UX Director