Innovate with Design Sprints for Lean Digital

A whiteboard filled with writing and post its

Posted on Mar 9, 2018

Watching world-class athletes compete is awe-inspiring. Their record-breaking performances remind the world of what’s possible through hard work, focus, and dedication. And with all eyes fixed on the Winter Olympics, this is a great time to reimagine what’s possible—especially within organizations that have learned to apply Lean principles to their digital initiatives.

You may never compete in the Olympics. But how can you help your company compete (and win) in today’s digital economy? One approach that is growing in popularity is a Digital Sprint, which can help even innovative companies cut the time it takes to create new products from months down to five days.

Paralysis by analysis no more

Three partners from Google Ventures recently published a book entitled, Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. The authors map out a strategy for fast tracking your innovation process. This concept will likely resonate with people already familiar with Lean, Agile, and Design Thinking.

At CI&T, we’re taking our clients through a similar process we call Design Sprints. Those steps are as follows:

  1. Understand the user needs, business need and technology capacities
  2. Define the key strategy and areas of focus
  3. Diverge by exploring as many ideas as possible
  4. Decide on the best ideas
  5. Prototype 
  6. Validate your ideas with users, stakeholders, and technical experts

Using this framework, you focus on one problem and then solve it quickly by going deep in five days. You’ll see that in Design Sprints, you have a viable idea on day three that you’re ready to validate by day five. Without these final steps of prototyping and validating, your idea is only a hypothesis that’s never been tested.

Just one good idea

What’s particularly compelling about this approach is the convergence process: You start with a hodgepodge of ideas and begin winnowing your list to the one that has the most potential. This is in complete contrast to a typical brainstorming process, where teams cook up a variety of ideas that never see the light of day. Why? Because there’s not a disciplined process in place for moving ideas forward.

For many companies, the process of solving problems and testing ideas can also get derailed because there’s a lack of appreciation for how to innovate. Over the years, CI&T has been a proponent of thinking about the digital transformation process as a journey. Also, creating innovative products requires that you go through countless bad ideas until you finally arrive at one good one. The more efficient your process, the more ideas you can test, and the quicker you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

An innovation strategy that’s built to last

We’re strong believers in the value of a well-conceived digital transformation strategy. In fact, we regularly talk to clients about the importance of not only deploying their strategies, but also adapting them to keep pace with the changes in the marketplace. Charles Darwin once said, “It’s not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” Design sprints are critical tools for navigating that change.