Strategic Design Sprint

Learning by doing: Increase your innovation capacity with a Strategic Design Sprint

A Strategic Design Sprint will help you reach new heights in terms of your innovation capacity. To keep up with the pace of technological advance, spotting the right opportunities and acting on them is a necessity. In turn, this requires processes that help harness hidden information and untapped skills. Everyone in your organization needs to feel engaged and empowered to contribute. Making innovation part of your business development strategy is a big endeavour that needs a suitable organizational structure to be successful. To this end, our Strategic Design Sprint will help you to build a culture in which information and knowledge are shared freely by everyone, and human-centered process patterns support high connectivity across all departments.

Image: Strategic Design Sprint according to the Free Climbing metaphor
Free Climbing – a metaphor for innovation development
Our Strategic Design Sprint has parallels to Free Climbing: developing meaningful innovations is hard work, failure is part of the process, and free sharing of knowledge and skills are essential for a successful journey from the base camp to the pitch.

Time-boxed design process

An optimized sprint process with two convincing results

A typical Strategic Design Sprint consists of four phases: Explore, Define, Develop, and Deliver. Explore stands for discovering and scouting the problem space, Define for focusing on new insights and questions. Develop means the rapid modelling of ideas and solutions, and Deliver their realization in practice. The methods and tools of our Strategic Design Framework support this process. At the end of your sprint, you will have two concrete deliverables: a convincing, tested prototype and a matching business model. This ensures that your sprint achieves concrete results suitable for further use, as well as informing and integrating other organizational units. The format is deliberately kept simple and your team can adapt it to its needs.


Image: The design process according to the British Design Council
The Design Process
Overview of the design process according to the scheme of the British Design Council.

Design competence

Building a knowledge-sharing culture

Trust, engagement, and loyalty are the currencies that enable a team to share knowledge. The key to building them is to empower and develop every one of its members. That is why our Strategic Design Sprint creates a space for testing, adapting, and utilizing proven design tools. Processes typical for design meet processes established in your organization. The coordinated encounter of working, thinking, and cultural patterns leads to new forms of collaboration, enabling your team to foster its individual members’ personal and professional development. During this process, the Strategic Design Sprint cultivates a positive energy that will drive you to promote its use throughout your organization. Thus, it is not only an efficient approach to meaningful innovation, but also to ensure everyone’s support for the result, including its market launch and beyond.

Double diamond
Building a Social Brain
A Strategic Design Sprint provides a framework that helps your team achieve peak performance. It sets free the collective intelligence of the group by aligning the motivation of the individuals. Moreover, the team members’ diverse backgrounds, personalities, skills, and ideas are beneficial for the project, since the advancement of their individual strengths is part of the process.

Immersive learning space
When learning is part of the process, mistakes are, too. Thus, the sprint will foster an open failure culture of shared knowledge and rapid revisions. The team will be able to adjust the ration between learning and solution-oriented work as it sees fit.

Business Model Canvas
Concrete results of a Strategic Design Sprint
Each sprint results in two deliverables: a business model canvas that documents the return on investment and value proposition, and a prototype that demonstrates the product’s user experience.

Foster an agile mindset
The team members cultivate and use their high cognitive flexibility to balance freedom and responsibility for a consistently efficient work output.

A transformative process

Culture-forming variables included

Sprint formats that organize teamwork are not uncommon. What is special about strategic design sprints, however, is that culture-enhancing measures can be deliberately integrated into the work. For the personal and professional growth of the participants, principles like learning-by-doing and phases of reflection are anchored in the process and are methodically promoted. Strategic Design is therefore also a transformative approach that aims for a targeted development of design competence in your team. This process can be controlled by the team itself, resulting in an open and conscious engagement with the character of the format.


Strategic Design Sprint in practice

A process that can be customized according to your needs

The Strategic Design Sprint runs according to a schedule that can be adjusted at every stage of the process. Based on the free-climbing metaphor, the theme of the sprint is first introduced in a basecamp meeting (pitch) where the team (5 to 8 people) also settles organizational matters. Availabilities, main tasks, procedures and timings are defined and special tasks for individual members are assigned. The team then proceeds through the individual phases of the design process described above. Depending on the team’s level of maturity, the members can define reflection phases, present and introduce new methods, develop improvements to existing processes, as well as check and promote the team’s self-concept. One sprint cycle (rope) takes either two or three weeks. At its end, the result is made public and presented in a further pitch meeting.

Strategic Design Sprint: Learn more

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