Business startup

Google Design Sprint – How to develop & test a business idea

Google Sprint Design

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How to develop a business idea?

Google Sprint Design is a strong solution that can help you. To begin with, you need to know that this post is based on my experience and understanding of what I have learned. I hope you will enjoy it! Let us begin: 

In 2018 I finished my bachelor’s and wanted to create my own business. In the beginning, I knew that I wanted to create a webshop, but I did not know which kind of webshop. To be honest, I did not know anything about it. So I was confused about where to start. 

Some months after creating a logo and my business, I was included in a project, which helps start-ups to evolve. There I was introduced to a methodology that helped me create and develop my core business idea. 

I will introduce you to the methodology and add some links you can use to learn more about it. 

What is Google Design Sprint?

Google Design Sprint is a design methodology created by Google Ventures and inverted by one of the world’s tallest designers, Jake Knapp who spent 10 years at Google and helped to build products like Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Encarta. 

The design framework was created and evolved from an analysis of more than 300 different business strategies, design thinking principles, and user research methods.

To make it short and precise. The framework is built in five phases and helps big teams and creators arrive at one solution to solve critical questions within a few days, by using rapid prototyping and user testing. Follow this to hear Jake Knapp talk more about it: https://www.popwebdesign.net/popart_blog/en/2018/06/google-design-sprint/

Create and test your idea in 5 days with google design sprint

You are properly wondering “How can I do this in a short period of time?”. I will take you through the five phases down below, but before that, you have to plan your design sprint. For the planning, you need to know what every sprint consists of. 

  1. First of all, you need a challenge to sprint on, such as (product development, new platform ideas, etc.).
  2. Then you have to be up 4-7 people with different roles in the sprint to share and debate the idea from different perspectives, also getting process flowing, so you do not use more time than necessary.  In my experience, it is important to have a sprint master who is in charge.
  3. Time is the essence, that means to have a week cleared in your schedule, so the team can take the time to collaborate.
  4. Find a space where your team can collaborate
  5. Obtain supplies such as makers, sticky notes, pens, etc.  you can use to note and share your ideas.

    When your checklist and planning is done, now you are ready to dive in.

Day 1. Map

The first day is structured to create a discussion for a path for the sprint week. Start the morning by starting at the end and agree to a long term goal. This means you begin to share your knowledge, understanding the issue, and choosing the target for the week’s efforts, so you do not waste time on the part of the problem.
There is a checklist you can follow on this link: https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-monday-4bf0606b5c81

The next step is to make a map of the challenge by agreeing on 3 important elements before starting the process. These elements are:

Who is the target client – Decide who your target is.

At the beginning of the story – You need to know when your target customer experience begins

End of the story – Decide the goal you want to reach.

Now it’s time to get to work. 

  1. Map alone together: Start with a 10 minutes individual exercise by giving every team member a post-it note and begin mapping the users experience from the initial problem to the goal.
  2. Every team member sticks their timelines on the wall: Sticks the notes above the other.
  3. Tell the story: Gather your team in front of the notes and each tells a story in 2 minutes.
  4. Highlight: When each presentation is done, ask everyone to choose the steps they find important.
  5. Choose: When everyone is done, ask the team to remove the rest of the post-its the team do not find important. 
  6. Assemble the stories: Merge the stories together to one story. 

    The mapping will now be done and you are ready to proceed to the next day. 
    In my case, I choose how to create a brand that not only focuses on selling but also wants to make a change in my community. 

If wanted, follow these links to learn more:

https://sprintstories.com/the-design-sprint-note-n-map-a9bf0ca88f51

https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-monday-4bf0606b5c81

Day 2. Sketch

Day 2 is all about the solutions. This step of the sprint is about sketching out possible solutions for the challenges. Each team member contributes by sketching the individual’s ideas on post-its and then submitting them anonymously. 
The goal is to create a lot of ideas and next narrow them into actual solutions that will be the fundament of the prototype.   

After narrowing the ideas, take the time to recruit customers for testing on the last day. Begin by putting someone in charge of the recruiting. 

For the recruiting process, write a survey where you ask questions that will help you identify your target customers and it is important that you do not reveal who you are looking for. A good idea will is to start recruiting people from your network and be sure to follow up with mail, phone calls or social trough the week, to make sure that the tester shows up on the testing day. 

Find more information here: https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-tuesday-d22b30f905c3

I used this with my team to narrow my target to people with an interest in social responsibility, by recruiting mine and the team’s social media network to find our testers. 

Day 3. Decide

Day 3 is dedicated to making a decision, by evaluating each solution, and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving your goal. That means the team goes through each and every, discussing and mixing ideas until the solutions beginning to shape.

By doing this the best idea take surface and it will provide a step-by-step plan for prototyping. 

It is important to take a break, cause this step can be hard, because of all the debating. Follow this link provided by GV Library (Google Ventures), to find tips for this step: https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-wednesday-900fe3f2c26e

I choose to make a prototype of my website and the customer flow of the shop.

Day 4. Prototype

On day 4 the team turns the work on the storyboard into a testable prototype. All you need is a realistic facade to test with the customers, by focusing on the customer-facing surface. It is important that you make sure to pick the right tools, by using tools that are rough, fast, and flexible.

Also make sure to divide and conquer, by assigning roles such as, Maker, Stitcher, Writer, Asset Collector, and Interviewer. A great idea would be to break the storyboard into smaller scenes and assign each to a different member of your team. 

Remember that you can prototype anything, so build just enough to learn and make it appear real. Just make sure to create a prototype with enough quality to evoke elicit honest reactions from your customers. 

It also important to make sure that everything is prepared for the last day’s testing, by confirming the schedule, reviewing the prototype, and writing an interview script. 

More information on this link: https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-thursday-df8d7c8c0555

That is all for day 4. On this day I created the prototype for my webshop, by using Google Sheets to create a workflow of the webshop, that could be tested. 

Day 5. Test 

Finally you have now reach day 5, where you have to put your ideas to the test. By now you have created  promising solutions, chosen the best, and built a realistic prototype that is ready to be tested. The testing process involves interviewing and observing the testers interacting with your prototype. By doing this you will be able to get immediate, authentic feedback, allowing you to understand what works and does not, as the results will set the direction for the product. 

Key ideas for the testing is to interviewing five customers and make sure to do all five interviews in one day. It is important that all the sprint members watch the interviews together, which will is more efficient and you will be able to draw better conclusions. 

Remember that whatever the result, it will always be a winner. The reason for that is either if your prototype is a failure or success, you will learn what you need for the next step. 

Find more detailed information in this link: https://library.gv.com/sprint-week-friday-7f66b4194137#.8e10zsect

I used this to send out a survey with my prototype, which I used to process the answers I received from my testers, to change the layout, workflow and customer journey in shopping on my webshop. 

Conclusion

Basically the Google Design Sprint is a methodology to help businesses cut through the chase and deliver workable prototypes that can be tested with the customers. 

It is a guide to answering critical business questions and can be used by any business size, from small startups to huge companies like Google, etc. So it is for everyone with an opportunity, challenge, or idea who needs to get answers quickly. 

The methodology is a flexible workflow that can be adjusted according to your and challenges. You can adjust it by shorting the time and getting answers now. The most important is that it should take longer than five days.

It helped me to evolve my business idea to more than only a webshop, but a company that strives to make a social responsible difference in my community. 

I hope you enjoyed the post and you can find more information about Google Sprint Design by visiting their site: https://designsprintkit.withgoogle.com/

The sprint is developed at GV and is a five-day process for answering critical business questions by design, prototyping and testing ideas with the customers. It is used by working together in a sprint, that can shortcut debate cycles and compact a lot of time in only one week. The great idea is to launch a minimal product to understand the benefit of an idea by getting clear data from practical prototypes. With the sprint, you can quickly evaluate your finished product and customer reactions, before spending a lot of time and money. Basically, the sprint covers business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, design thinking and more tested processes any team can use.

You can start using the Google Sprint design by setting the stage, by finding the challenge, choosing your team, time and space to conduct the sprint. Afterwards you have to divide the sprint in the five weekdays from monday to friday which are the time for conducting your sprint. 

The first day of the sprint is Monday which is structured to discussions and deciding the long-term goal that will be the base of the challenge to solve. At the end of this day your team should understand the challenge, and choosed the target of the sprint. 

Tuesday is used to get focused on solutions. The day will be used to review, mix and improve existing ideas. This also is the day where each person on the team will make some sketches and you all will begin planning and recruiting customers for the Fridays test. 

Wednesday is the day to go through each idea and decide which ones have the potential to reach the long-term goal. Later in this day you will choose the winning idea from the sketches and put a storyboard together for planning your prototype. 

On Thursday you turn the storyboard into a realistic prototype that can be tested with customers. You will also use this day to prepare everything for Friday’s test by confirming the schedule, writing an interview script and reviewing the prototype. 

Friday is the last day and you have found solutions, chosen the best, and built a prototype. Now you are ready to interview customers and learn by watching them use and test your prototype. The test is the last step and you will by this day know what you need to do next to solve your challenge.

The purpose of using the design sprint is to get concrete and measurable outcomes in a few days through user tests. It is a design method you can use to solve difficult problems by rapid prototyping and testing with targeted users. The framework of the Design Sprint is developed to align teams under a shared vision with chosen goals. The essential benefits of using the Design Sprint are getting the challenge to find a solution without running failed tests and spending useless time and thereby faster avoiding developing unnecessary risk and features and maximising your time and ROI. 

There are no specific types of companies that use Google Design Sprint. All types of companies use the Design Sprint and have success with it. Small, medium and huge companies can use the Design Sprint to reach their goals. It is all about using the steps in the Design Sprint to solve a challenge without using a lot of resources.

You should use The Design Sprint if you have a meaningful and challenging problem that you need different people from different departments to work together to find a solution. It is effective and allows you to work structured and fast to brainstorming, prototyping and testing the solution in a short time with low cost and risk.

The price depends on the firm that facilitates the design sprint. Some firms charge between 20 and 30k$, but some charge more or less. The prices vary and depend on the number of days, attendants, complexity and impact of the project. You can also find the Google Sprint guide and follow it, then it would be free. It is basically up to how you want to handle it. Make sure to have some specialists or experienced members in the sprint, if it is new for you.

The Design Sprint works best with teams that are no larger than seven people. This is the guideline according to Google Ventures. If the team is larger than seven people the process could be put in risk of having too many personalities and opinions. If the team is smaller it could put too much workload on the few members, which would have a bad effect on the output of The Design Sprint. Also there are some roles that are a must to have an effective and great sprint team. In the team there should include these 6 roles, Product Manager, The Facilitator, The Customer Expert, The Design Expert, The Engineer and Marketing Expert. 

The product manager is the informal leader of the sprint team, which could be a VP, lead engineer, CEO or sales executive of a company. This person contributes with the competence and experience with the challenge from the real-world, and can thereby help to resolve the challenge.  

The facilitator has the responsibility of getting the team to function. This person has to make the team dynamic to work. This person is the engine for the whole sprint because the team has to keep the pace and be focused. 

The customer expert is the person who conducts business with your clients. This person should have customer service experience and the competence to handle your client base. 

The design expert in your team should be a person with experience from other sprint teams. This person’s speciality is to tell what is possible and not, also what makes sure to make things appealing and help the team visualize and grounded ideas to solve your challenges. 

It is important to have an engineer because this person will design the prototype for testing your solutions. 

At last you need to have a marketing expert who is the person to market your solution and the benefits of it. 

Basically, no design sprint teams are the same as every product and sprints are unique due to the ideas and teams. That is why you have to build a team with those six roles in mind, to build and make your product unique.

The preparations of your Design Sprint is as essential as conducting the sprint. The time spent on your Design Sprint is based on the end goals and the needs of your team.  Make sure to take the time to prepare for your sprint and follow the guides for each day of the Design Sprint model.

The Design Sprint was invented by Jake Knapp in 2010 at Google. He was inspired by many places, including the culture in Google’s product development, IDEO’s design thinking workshops, other idea thinking and his experience in building products such as Gmail and Hangouts. Between 2010-12 at Google, Jake rectified the Design Sprint with teams like Chrome, Google X and Search. Later in 2012 he then brought Design Sprint to Google Ventures where the Design was updated with the expertise from the team. Then the Google Ventures team published a how-to series about Design Sprint in 2012 and 2013, afterwards the process started to get spread out in the world. Then in 2016, The Sprint book was published, and now today thousands of teams in big and small companies around the world have run sprints. 

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