Facilitating a Google Ventures Design Sprint

June 30, 2016

A Design Sprint is a structured, time-boxed approach to solving a problem and building the right solution (generally with software). It incorporates ideation, software prototyping and user testing – usually all in the span of one week. Companies use Design Sprints to build new products, improve existing products and test ideas in a risk-free environment.

The method was invented and propagated by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures, and incorporates theory and practices from story centered design, lean user research, design thinking and rapid software prototyping. Google Ventures regularly conducts Design Sprints on their own portfolio companies.


This past week, I facilitated a Design Sprint for a new product team that included roles from all aspects of the company. We had everyone from Account Executives to the CTO in the room to help drive the inclusive design exercise.


The Design Sprint

Each of the topics below is generally one day, making the entire process one week.

  • Understand: This day is about defining the true problem, articulating assumptions, identifying customers and getting all stakeholders aligned on the same goal and with the same information.

  • Ideate: This day is about exploring the multiple ways of solving the problem, regardless of feasibility.

  • Decide: A structured process for deciding which to pursue and which to abandon. 

  • Prototype: This is an intense day of building a medium-fidelity prototype that is good enough to gather reliable data. 

  • Test: Bring in 5-6 users for 1 hour interviews each. You learn about their lives, their personal experience with your problem, and then watch them use your product. This part is the most stressful, but also the most insightful and fun. 

Here are some pictures I took while individuals from the company were exploring the ideation portion of the design sprint.




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