A conversation can be an output

Design Sprints are great at many things: they can quickly create consensus, de-risk ideas, and create clear path of what to do next.

Many Design Sprints are also good at generating prototypes—low-fidelity design experiments put in front of potential customers to see what they think about the experience before committing time, money, and resources to building it for real.

One of my favorite aspects of a Design Sprint is the democratization of the design process. One of the best moments from a Design Sprint I’ve witnessed is an engaged, constructive conversation between a CTO and an entry-level support agent.

These kinds of important conversations are waiting to happen. The Design Sprint is one of many techniques that provides a framework to facilitate this kind of interaction.

And facilitating conversations is worth noting. That dialog between the CTO and the support agent will lead to some really impactful updates to their processes. About half an hour’s worth of talking translates to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars being saved, and more importantly, a ton of unnecessary headaches and hassles being removed from people’s jobs.

It’s also important to note that the prototype is just that, a prototype. Take what works and throw the rest out. It’s way better to spend a day or two making one to see if the idea is valid, rather than taking months to release a fully fleshed out product or feature to a market that doesn’t see the point.

I’ve also been involved with Design Sprints where interaction with the prototype was of secondary importance. The ideas were either completely off the mark, or just not fleshed out enough to be understandable. I don’t consider it a failure, however.

The act of providing a structure to source, and speak with potential customers was itself extremely valuable. Here, the prototype served as a jumping off point for some rich, insightful conversations. Yes, we had to go back to the drawing board, but this time we had a ton more context about what people were actually looking for.

Rapidly and inexpensively de-risking ideas by talking to people is the true power of a Design Sprint. If that is something that you’re interesting in exploring, let’s get a conversation of our own going!