The DWS experience from a student perspective

We have many blog posts about the tutors, partner companies and motivational speakers that have joined the Sprint over the years, but have you ever wondered about the experience of a student participating in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint? Stiina enjoyed her participation in the DWS so much that she joined two years in a row. Naturally, we had to adjust her duties and approach the second time she participated. Here are a few words about her experience as well as 5 tips on how to make the most out of the Digital Wellbeing Sprint when you participate as a student.

Fast, fun and fantastic

by Stiina Tilli

“Why on Earth would you want to take this course again?”, asked one of my tutor teachers when I told her that I was going to do Digital Wellbeing Sprint again, second year in a row. I’ll tell you why!

The original Google Ventures’ Design Sprint is a five-day process which aims to answer critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. The 3UAS Digital Wellbeing Sprint is modified from this classic sprint model so that it consists of seven days instead of five and has the pitch in the end.

My first Digital Wellbeing Sprint was in spring 2021. When enrolling I had no idea, what the sprint would be like. My team’s client was Hivpoint, and we got to develop a web-based service to promote early detection of sexually transmitted infections by making contact tracing easier and more efficient. The sprint was in one word fantastic. Our team worked well together, and although we had diverse ideas at some point, we were able to come together and have a unified mind of the project. And the prototype was awesome! Hivpoint was also happy with our work and that was definitely the best reward.

The experience was so great that the idea of getting to live it all over again was born in my mind. I reached out to the teachers and luckily they told me that this could be implemented with some minor adjustments. So, in May 2022, I found myself in DWS Zoom once again, this time with client Disior and their 3D medical image analytics software Bonelogic. The purpose of the sprint was to improve the user experience of the software. The sprint gods must in my side since I was extremely lucky to get to work with another great team! The design sprint was carried out smoothly and although days were again intense, they were also enlightening and rewarding. The pitch in the end summed up the sprint nicely, and also the client seemed to be very pleased.

Having participated in two design sprints I am by no means an expert, but I nonetheless gathered up my five tips to a fruitful Digital Wellbeing Sprint:

  1. Be open-minded! This is an experience that you might have had before. Apart from studying it a bit in advance, you may have no idea of what to expect. Welcome it all with an open mind. This way you’ll get the most out of sprinting.
  2. Be vocal! There are people in your team that you don’t know beforehand. These passionate individuals have invested in the course and want to take all from it. There are multiple opinions and ideas flying around. It can be hard to get your voice aloud if you don’t be a little selfish at times. Grab your own moment and take advantage of it!
  3. Go the extra mile! The ultimate goal of the sprint is to make the client super pleased with your outcome. It maybe goes without saying but achieving the best possible result in such a short time requires that extra effort from all of you. In the best scenario, one would forget that the sprint accumulates credits and immerse themselves wholly in the process.
  4. Use humour! The sprint days can be quite loaded, and you may be using your second language with complete strangers all day long (on top of it in a remote environment!). Humour makes the hard work easier and helps keep your energy levels high. So joke around – but be appropriate of course!
  5. Trust the process! This may seem like a cliché, and you most probably will hear this a million times during the sprint. But it’s really true! All the smaller and larger parts and assignments of the sprint support the process and have an impact on the final product. I like to refer a successful sprint to magic – it truly is amazing what can be accomplished during these couple of days and although you might question the method along the way, everything is done for a purpose!

Whether you are still considering participating in a design sprint or have done it already, my advice is this: do it and preferably many times!

Are you thinking to join the Digital Wellbeing Sprint as a tutor? Here are a few interesting blog posts from previous tutors in 2022 and 2021.

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