Design Sprints.

What is a Design Sprint?

The design sprint is a methodology that was conceived by Google Ventures from their experience of working with over a hundred businesses. It is a group-based exercise where an internal team works together over the duration of five consecutive days to define an organisational goal and in response, rapidly prototype an idea, approach or solution that can be tested and validated with real users at the end of the week.

Conceiving, designing and testing concepts in this way enables a team to quickly dismiss ideas that don’t gain traction and to confidently continue to invest time and resources into those that do.

A five day design sprint with Cogworx will enable a project team to hit the ground running ahead of a ‘deep-dive’ discovery phase. Stakeholders will be aligned around a point of focus and a prototype will provide a direction for further validation and development.

What are the objectives of a Design Sprint?

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A clear, agreed goal for the business to focus on

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The pooling of business knowledge and expertise through team contribution

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Collaboration and contextual understanding between stakeholders

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The rapid production of a testable prototype within five days

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Validation of an idea by testing it with real users

Sprint Structure

Image showing five steps. Step 1 Frame. Step 2 Ideate. Step 3 Refine. Step 4 Prototype. Step 5 Test
Day 1



Through identifying the key business challenges, set a direction and target for the week's sprint activity.


  • Defining the business vision

  • Identifying challenges

  • User and process mapping

  • Knowledge pooling

  • Identifying opportunities

  • Prioritising objectives

  • Setting the sprint target

Day 2



To generate a rich bank of potential ideas and possibilities to explore, conceptualise and evaluate.


  • Lightning demos

  • Ideas and themes capture

  • Idea mapping

  • Crazy 8 ideation sketching

  • Solution sketching

  • User recruitment

Day 3



To consolidate the team's ideas into an actionable blueprint ready for prototyping.


  • Ideas gallery

  • Speed critiquing 

  • Idea heat mapping and voting

  • Journey mapping

  • Concept storyboarding

Day 4



To build a realistic prototype ready for testing with users, and to plan the user testing session.


  • Content production

  • Asset creation

  • Interaction design

  • User test session design

  • Interview scripting

  • Prototyping

  • Trial run

Day 5



To collectively test and observe the prototype with real users / customers and record the outcomes.


  • Session room set up

  • User test sessions

  • Group observation

  • Capture and note taking

  • Retrospective and reflections

Sprint Outcomes

The main outputs from a design sprint are the prototype and the user testing feedback. However, over the course of the five days the sprint room walls will transform into a rich tapestry of post-its, maps, sketches and statements that record the goals, challenges and thinking explored.

The duration of a sprint only allows for one idea to be developed at a high fidelity. However, within the output there will be a wealth of alternative ideas that might well form the basis of further exploratory sessions, a product backlog, prototype development or additional, shorter sprints.

All of the materials produced will be photographed and handed over with any design and development files used in the creation of the prototype. If it is a requirement, additional time can be spent producing a sprint retrospective.

How to get started

Cogworx have run numerous design sprints with our team acting as facilitators and designers. Using outside facilitators avoids bias and allows us to facilitate unencumbered by internal politics and relatonships. We have no agenda other than to get the best out of the sprint. We bring an outsider’s perspective, and more importantly 29 years of combined experience designing products and services.


If you’re interested in running a design sprint please get in touch. We would love to discuss your requirements further.

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