Our First Design Sprint!
We recently finished our first 5 day design sprint! It was a fantastic/ exhausting week and we had some really great insights which ended with a brilliant prototype which we have tested with real people!
What is a design sprint?
A design sprint is a 5 day process where which has 3 key steps:
- Really understand the problem
- Create a solution
- Prototype and test
Really understanding the problem
Monday is devoted to understanding the problem and problem’s background. We found digging deep into a problem and asking experts sometimes hard and sometimes simple questions really pays dividends later on in the week. We were fortunate to have three experts on our funeral business in Louise, Rebecca and Lois.
We began the day by thinking about the long term goals for this sprint and asking some key questions around what obstacles could stand in our way when trying to achieve this. Doing this forced us to think big and address any doubts or blockers which could stand in our way.
Following this session we mapped out the processes and people involved when a customer takes out a pre-paid plan with us. We focused on the point we had identified in our previous customer experience journey map to understand where people and other processes get involved in this journey.
After lunch we returned to the information we had gathered throughout the start of the day and asked each subject matter expert to reflect on their experience and understanding of each step. While they gave their perspective we completed the HMW exercise which I discussed in a earlier post.
This gave us a huge amount of information and understanding of the problem (also lots of post-it notes). We then voted on those HMW’s and mapped the shortlisted post-its on to our journey map. From this we highlighted the point area which we needed to attack to make the biggest impact to our customer.
We ended Monday with a really deep understanding of our problem and our customers we also had a crystallised focus on what we we wanted to achieve and the potential impact of achieving it. (and lots of information displayed across the walls of our room in the form of white boards, A-frames and post-it notes)
Creating a great solution
Tuesday, We lost Lois but gained three new customer and marketing experts in Jennie, Sam and Rob. The purpose of Tuesday is to draw on the information we collated on Monday and review how other people have tackled similar issues.
The day started with some research on how people had tackled similar problems before from different mediums, industries and view points. We then did a “lightning demo” on our findings this consisted of a 3 minute presentation each on our research findings. During the presentations we the facilitators captured the key points being displayed on a white board wall for future reference.
Following the demos we individually created competing solutions to our problem set out at the end of Monday using a 4 step sketching method.
Step one was note taking where we went around the room and filled an A4 page with a “best of” notes from the last day and a half.
Step two was idea sketching where we picked the best ideas from our page of notes and thought about how we might tackle them.
Step three was Crazy 8’s! This is a method of building iterations on an idea by folding a page into 8 panels and spending 60 seconds on each panel sketching a different approach to each problem.
Step four was the final sketch, we each picked one of our ideas from the Crazy exercise and drew it out in a 3 panel final sketch all anomalously. Drawing the idea out helps to explain the idea in a way that lists and words miss out.
At the end of the day we had a wall of complete ideas all approaching the problem from different angles and all informed by a real deep level of understanding of that problem.
Wednesday is decision day, at the start of the process we made Louise the decision maker this allows us to move at pace and ensure any disagreements are decided quickly and efficiently. In the morning we all reviewed the ideas created on Tuesday. We reviewed each idea anonymously to begin with, this allowed us to make honest and measured judgements on the process without having to worry about our opinion being influenced by the creator of the idea.
We each individually put voted with sticky dots on each part of the idea we liked creating hot spots concentrated on the best parts of each of the ideas. We then ran through each idea describing what we can see on each frame, at this point we still had not revealed who the creator for each idea was.
Following these levels of anonymous critique and review the creators stepped forward and explained their idea. Once this was completed Louise stepped forward with three suitably flashy glitter stickers and picked the parts she liked and would want to take forward into our final prototype.
The great part of this process was that the final idea took a bit from each of the the ideas put forward to create a really great combined idea!
The final idea was to create a prototype booth which could be moved around with really straight talking language which would prompt couples and friends to have a conversation around death.
We thought it was important to not use the booth as a way to sell our services but just to focus on letting people have that conversation.
We also had the idea of giving the participant a picture or fridge magnet with there face on to take home, this would hopefully prompt them to carry on the conversation with friends and family.
Prototype and Test
Wednesday afternoon we built a detailed storyboard on the prototype we were going to make. Referring back to the long term goal and objectives we displayed on Monday we were able to detail how our prototype would be approached and ensure it would prove our objective.
Thursday was spent the day building and testing our prototype, a prototype does not have to be fully functioning product or service as long as it appears to function to the tester. This means our prototypes can be held together with sticky back plastic and blue-tac in the background as long as they look a feel real to the tester and allows us to create something in a short amount of time which proves or disproves the idea works.
Due to time table commitments we needed to spread the testing out over the next few weeks and the conversations we have had back initially have been really powerful. We found that having two people sat together with straight talking language created a real deep powerful conversation.
As this is our first design sprint we have currently only been able to test it with colleagues. Watch this space for further findings after we test it with members of the public
What did we learn?
The biggest learning I took away were the power of the tools and process. We entered the week with a broad problem and came out with an idea none of us would of predicted on that Monday morning.
It was also great how the process enabled everyone involved to have a voice and make a positive impact, everybody involved made an impact and in some way shaped the end product and this collaborative way of working yielded a great result we were all proud of.
When we complete testing we will be able to see if the idea works for customers and if so we will be challenged as to how we develop it and move it forward. If customer testing shows it does not work we will understand why it did not work and take those lessons back to the business which will help to inform future ventures.