Design Sprints are a genius idea to rapidly develop a working prototype for an idea and test it in 4 or 5 days. Companies can spend months researching, developing and procrastinating over new products and services often wasting valuable time and money before they know if their new idea will even be attractive or profitable. With design sprints you can cut to the chase within a matter of days and even have it tested on a specific target audience to gauge it’s potential effectiveness.

The concept of a design sprint was developed by Jake Knapp with the help of John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz who all work in the Google ventures team. They wrote a great book which is pictured above and well worth a thorough read. The book really does what it says on the tin – the methods they use really do allow you to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days.

The video above is Jake himself describing the process very briefly. Essentially as there is limited time to tackle each of the tasks, deadlines provide the incentive to get the mind working fast and not over think things too much. The idea sprint will involve 7 experts who will all collaborate to come up with ideas to solve the problem posed to the group. The use of sticky notes and voting allows everyone to be heard and the bestideas to rise to the top. The prototype day gets the team working together to make a dummy version of the finished product – and the final day you show this prototype to potential customers to gauge reactions and gather feedback. Because there’s no weekend breaking up the process there is less chance of doubt, procrastination or deviation.

It’s a highly effective process and it’s works for a vast range of problems and projects. You can see some use cases here: