Innovation is often associated with starts-ups, particularly those in the tech industry. However, businesses of different sizes and industries can also benefit from implementing a more collaborative and efficient way of thinking and working. Businesses with a flexible approach to planning can respond quickly to internal and external changes without losing momentum, which is key to achieving success. This is where design sprints come in.
A design sprint is a five-day process for addressing a specific business problem, developed by Google Ventures. It works by breaking down a larger problem into smaller tasks and strict time allowances, with the result being a collaborative solution by the end of the five days.
At Aldermore, we like to try different ways of working to see whether innovative planning styles bring different levels of success for solving problems. My team have started reaping the benefits of running design sprints, but don’t just take my word for it. Businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to well-established companies, have spoken about how design sprints can help growth; here are just 5 of the possible benefits.
1) You’ll become more focussed
Sometimes, when you’re faced with a business problem it can be all too easy to push it to the back of your mind and focus your energies on other tasks. With design sprints, you assign a strict time box to dealing with each question you’re facing, so you’re forced to make a decision there and then; an issue that might’ve taken a four hour meeting to address is solved and fixed within thirty minutes. We’ve found that this deadline instantly helps increase motivation and focus – you don’t have the time to get side-tracked. You only have one main goal throughout the design sprint – to come up with a solution for the problem – which means your entire team is focussed on this singular goal.
2) You’ll save time and money
Sometimes, you could waste days waiting for people to reply to emails or trying to schedule meetings, wasting time and money. Design sprints effectively enable you to condense three or four weeks’ worth of work into a five day period. Although it can seem like a big time commitment at first, getting all of the decision makers and everyone working on a project in the same room for five days, makes it much quicker and easier to solve problems.
3) You’ll learn how to think differently
When time is a major factor, you’ll find that you start to think differently. You can learn to look at problems from different perspectives and brainstorm to come up with creative, customer-centric solutions to any issues you might face in the future.
4) You’ll improve teamwork in your business
Design sprints are great for increasing communication between different team members. They also allow you to get people from various departments and different roles all collaborating with fresh perspectives.
5) You’ll become more agile and efficient
If you’ve never run a design sprint in your business before, Google Ventures recommend you follow their step-by-step plan pretty closely, at least for the first few times. However, once you’re comfortable with the process, there’s nothing to stop you from breaking it down, isolating specific elements and introducing them to your day-to-day business operations.
Design sprints are often used for digital development issues, but can be used to address any business problem, in any department – the basic concept doesn’t change. And once you’ve completed your first design sprint, you may find that you never look back.
Looking for other ways to grow your business? Check out our 5 tips for online business success.
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