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Google Design Sprint: How Innovations Happen in just one week

Here’s a Google Sprint Overview to help your company execute innovations and solve problems in just a week. Learn how top tech product designers innovate.

Google Design Sprint

Markets are changing and products are evolving, but how about the companies and organisations? In this blog post we will talk how Google Design Sprint can help your organisation with these challenges.


Many traditional methods are no longer working leaving the companies behind their respective industry standards. As a result, companies are investing a lot of money in different tools that can make their operations run smoothly.


But what if machines and tools are not the problems? What if the human side of the operation is the bottleneck?


The pressure from the changing market can be very tough, and companies can really have a hard time dealing with the demand, but through Google Design Sprint, every team can manage challenges and secure a systematic method towards innovative, tried, and tested solutions.


Google Design Sprint is a framework that focuses on the users, business, and technology. It is a thinking session that answers major business, products, or project roadblocks that involve prototyping and testing new ideas or even designs.


The scale of the problem is irrelevant. The focus of this method is the concept of how should blockers be addressed and solved given the time and resource constraint.


Many startup and even established companies have already practised this method and proved increased efficiency in their operations. This 5-day method is a straightforward result-oriented process.


Any type of company can use this method to catch up with the fast-paced market and to cut lead time. If you’re wondering how it works in action, watch this video below then read the details on how to implement this right after watching the video.



Google Design Sprint

There are five stages of the sprint spearheaded by the Sprint master. He/she will define the problem and works with six stages to resolve the challenge.

  1. Understand

The first part of the sprint is to clearly understand what the problem is and how to solve it. This phase involves brainstorming and fast-talks, which are 10-15 minute sessions gathered by Sprint Master.


Teams use a different approach and write down on their notes using HMW or “How Might We” method.


For example, you can put the problem into this sentence; “How might we help our users find the page what they’re looking for?” and “How might we make our navigation clear and intuitive for the users?”


The phrase HMW is useful because each sentence helps put team members in the right mindset. This lets the team find creative ideas and answers to achieve solutions to the problem.

  1. Sketch

The creators of Google Sprint, Jake Knapp, Braden Kowitz, and John Zeratsky, have found that the sketching is the best way to turn abstract ideas into a plan of action. This enables them to explore and design different ways of tackling the user’s problem.


During the sketch stage, team members are given the time to write solutions on their own. Creative ideas are often produced in concentrated mindset.


After every member finished sketching their thoughts, each of them will share their own idea and discuss it with the group. Then, the team will hold a round of voting and remove any sketches that are not feasible or will not help answer the user problem.

  1. Decide

After laying it all down, team members discuss the ideas on the board and to decide on which is the best solution to solve the problem. This shows the best way that can be helpful to the problem.


After each member presents his/her solution sketch, a round of voting will be held. It’s simple; Present and Vote. If the odds are in your favour, this will result in apparent winners, but more often than not that doesn’t happen.


For example, there may not be a clear agreement or people may feel they are being pressured to vote how the team leader is voting. There are many ways that can help reach a consensus.


If a team can’t come up with a clear number after voting, Decision Matrix approach will be used to help narrow down in more effective ideas.


The matrix is a simple diagram that helps them judge all the ideas on a set of requirements that is most useful for the objectives of the whole sprint.


The team will weigh the risk against reward, and the solutions will be measured on what are the risks and what its value.

  1. Prototype

Test ideas without wasting time to save valuable resources. That means building the structure and base elements of prototype to getting real response from testers. View your prototype as a challenging experiment to test out your hypothesis.


This means thinking critically about what you will build to get the inputs and feedback you need to validate or invalidate your hypothesis. This stage allows the team to see what will work and won’t work.


The team is separated into small groups and assigned on different tasks. There are Creators, Writer, Designer, and the Tester – that will run the user testing and gives feedback.

  1. Validate

The last stage is to validate. Showing the prototype to real users outside the team and gather feedback on what doesn’t work. The team will conduct interviews and hear direct feedback from the target audience.


The team will watch the users try out the prototype and see if there are major issues with the design user behaviour when they are using it. This enables the team to learn different ways to create the solution using the defined strategy.


Once validation sessions completed, gather the team together to review and refine the findings. The team prepares a visual presentation from the Validation Session, or you can transform the results into a presentation.


The essential thing here is that the participants review the findings together, absorb the learnings, and discuss next steps for the project. Every Sprint should have an action list of learning that leads to the next session of product development.


The Google Design Sprint method lets organisations to solve challenges and problems that can be validated without wasting valuable resources on other solutions that didn’t even help the team learn.


By defining strategy and quick prototypes, you can get actual fast feedback and see if the solution you’ve created is workable.


Some may consider the systematic approach of the Google Design Sprint as a threat to the internal organisation, but that shouldn’t be the case. The integrative effort cuts out the hierarchy for a change.


Plus, it gives participants the feeling that their opinions are valued. It also contributes to a better team spirit and greater cooperation in the company.


Mostly, this process gives us useful and creative ideas. It trains us to flex our creative muscles and generate new solutions while putting the users’ needs as a priority.


Before closing the sprint, the Sprint Master should commend and acknowledge all the participation and call for a celebration for all the learnings that the team has acquired.


The sprint master can invite everyone to a closing circle and ask the participants their takeaways and insights from the experience. An absolute must to make participants feel that they’ve accomplished a significant mission after the sprint.

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Luis Gonçalves

About Luis Gonçalves

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Author, International Keynote Speaker, Blogger and Management Consultant. I spent most of my career helping organisations become more Agile with different roles in different organisations. Nowadays I work with Executive Leaders by improving their organisations leading them to become effective, efficient and highly rewarded leaders.


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