Arifa’s DWS journey

Digital Wellbeing is an intensive course where students from 3AMK – Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia Universities of Applied Sciences work together to build digital solutions for health care service providers. Digital Well-being sprint is based on the book called The Design Sprint book written by ​​Jake Knapp. Design Sprint is a 5 day process but DWS (Digital Wellbeing Sprint) modified the process for 7 days. 

The process was deep and intensive where the facilitators directed the students to perform specific tasks. On the first day, the goal was to get introduced with each other, process and the tools which will be used, for example, Miro. On the first day, the sprint purpose was made clear to everyone, rich discussions occurred, mapping of challenges, and clearly defining which parts of the problem would be resolved in that sprint. Tutor Laura gave us a short and sweet tutorial on using Miro as an application, which helped the students who had never used Miro before. The next day, we defined solutions to the problems that were stated a day before. It was more of a day where we collected ideas and documented how we aim to solve the problem. The third day was about sketching, where the students doodled and wrote down rough ideas. During that same day, each one of the team members went through each other’s design and voted the best one. I must say that each sketch looked well polished and well designed. The fourth day we learnt about creating prototypes, and our team designed prototypes using Figma. There were a bunch of girls who were familiar with Figma, which helped them to do much in a short amount of time. The fifth day was the day to test the prototype, the students interviewed a set of people which in our case was lab technicians. The interview day was a success, as the students received good feedback from the testers, but yes it was a long day. Then came the last day, “The pitching day”. On this very day, all the groups presented their very own solution to the challenges. All the company representatives were present on this day.  

When I reflect back to the sprint days, I remember all the hard work we as facilitators put in to accomplish the Design sprint days. Making preparations, deciding on what has to be done so that we have a smooth flow during the sprint. We all facilitators read the book wherein description for each task was given in more detail for each day. 

What I learned from the sprint is, a problem can be solved and tested using the Design sprint in just 5 days rather than developing the whole solution and seeing if that works or is accepted by the market. 

I had never been a facilitator. During this course I took the lead of facilitating the design sprint and providing direction to the team. Our sprint challenge was a very unique one. We were supposed to understand the process followed by a company and create a web prototype for it.  

Some of the tips for the people who aim to become facilitators in the next sprint is read the book, watch the videos of the sprint book, take one day at a time and ask your facilitator team if something is unclear. It is easy to get overwhelmed and get tensed, but the facilitator team will always be there for your support. The facilitator should know the process well or it can be overwhelming to direct the students during the DWS journey. 

All the very best to the people handling Digital Well-being sprint the next year. It is a journey to trust the book and follow the process. 

About the author: Arifa is a Software Engineer with 5+ years of experience. She has experience building desktop applications, web based application and mobile application using various technologies. She is currently up-skilling herself in Cloud Computing (AWS). More about Arifa can be found here.