build Tool: Consider a design sprint

One way to apply the skills developed through design thinking is with a design sprint. A design sprint is a specific process used to test out ideas for a product, service, or process, whereas a design thinking process focuses on building people’s capacity to innovate. A sprint is deliberately fast-paced; the team goes through several phases of prototypes and testing in just a few days. The focus could be a physical or virtual product or an intangible business solution, such as a new tool or internal process.

The purpose of the design sprint is to reduce the risk associated with launching a new idea. The Google design sprint framework was created in 2010, drawing from work done at places like IDEO and Stanford d.school and developed over the years by GV (formerly known as Google Ventures). The design sprint methods are organized into five phases:

  1. Understand: Map out the problem and get the whole team on the same page.
  2. Sketch: Generate a broad range of ideas and narrow down to a select group.
  3. Decide: As a team, decide what idea to test.
  4. Prototype: Build only what you need to validate your ideas in a very short time frame.
  5. Validate: See live users interact with your team’s ideas and hear direct feedback from your target audience.

Check out Google’s Design Sprint Kit to learn more about the design sprint phases, methods, and for examples of how people have used this process.

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