Meet the tutors of DWS 2022 

As Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2022 is just around the corner, it is time to introduce our amazing tutors who are steering the process during the Sprint.  


I’m Ashrika, Test Automation Engineer, Bug Bounty winner, motivational speaker, and observer. Currently, working as a Lead Test Automation Engineer in Accenture, whose role is to understand & map clients’ requirements/enhancements to the product and implement solutions that effectively resolve problems or provide improvement.” 

-What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

Listening, Observing, and taking good Decisions with others as a tutor are the superpowers that I’m going to utilize during the Sprint. 

 –Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… We follow the Sprint book guidance properly and share our experiences with fellow students.


I’m Viljami, a first year Master’s Degree student at Laurea studying Service Innovation and Design. I’ve taken part in many service design projects over the past year or so but this role that we as tutors have in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint is a new experience for me. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the project participants and getting started!”  

-What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

My special superpower is listening and hearing what is being said. I plan to use this superpower to help the students reach their goals for this project in a timely, but also fun way.  

Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

At the end the students feel a sense of accomplishment, ownership and pride in the work that they have done over the course of a few short days with people they are meeting for the first time. 


I am Arifa, a Software Engineer working at Accenture, having 6 years of experience working in IT industry. I am good at building real working projects from scratch. I like to learn about new things and write about them in the form of blogs. I am also a mother of one. If I am away from my worktable then I am just fulfilling my daughter’s demands”. 

-What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

During the sprint, I will be unleashing my superpowers such as motivation that can help the students to find their inner qualities, planning well will prepare us for the demo day, managing time so we are not distracted and be focused on completing the task. Providing a comfortable environment so that everyone can be themselves and contribute to the task. 

Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

The students who participated have learnt the best on how to plan and complete designing a service with minimal required features during a given time. Companies who were part of the sprint are astonished at what could be achieved in such a short duration. Finally, the tutors have learnt to manage students to be focused so that at the end of the day, a DWS day specific goal is achieved. 


”I am an MBA student in Haaga-Helia specializing in Digital Business Opportunities. I have a background in supportive and administrative roles in different organizations. I am very interested in how digitalization affects us and how we can benefit from it in sharing ideas and knowledge, as well as working and spending time together. 

-What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

I am not afraid to tackle new and unfamiliar challenges in an organized fashion. 

Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

We have made new connections, learned new things and have been part of creating new ideas. 


I am Yash, a Team Lead, chef, dream achiever, motivational speaker, and soon-to-be leadership coach. My Journey begins in 2015 and since then I have enjoyed many different positions throughout my career in product strategy, planning, development, testing, and technical sales. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing new perspectives. Reach out if you want to talk to me about emerging tech, and creating software products.

– What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

 Engaging and collaborating with others to achieve a goal is the superpowers that I’m going to utilize during the Sprint. 

– Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

  We encourage our teams and fellow people to do good with proper guidance. 


I am a student in Laurea and about to graduate from MBA program of Service Innovation and Design. I have also Master`s degree in Anthropology. I have strong growth mindset; I absolutely love to learn new things and go beyond of my comfort zone to take up intellectual challenges.” 

– What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

Ability to solve problems on the go and diligent approach to achieve the goals. 

– Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

The participants can recommend the experience to their peers, and they will sign-up the Sprint of 2023. 


I’m Liisa. I study two master’s degrees, Health Business Management in Metropolia and Future-oriented Project Management in Laurea at the same time. I am transitioning to the IT industry from the health care industry. ” 

– What are the special superpowers that you are going to utilize during the Sprint? 

Unfortunately, I do not have any superpowers unless being a stay-at-home mum and a double master’s degree student counts. It gets pretty hectic sometimes…. Maybe I will utilise my skill of handling stressful situations and deadlines 😃 

– Complete the sentence: I know we have had a successful Digital Wellbeing Sprint when… 

 New innovations and ideas have risen. 

The entire DWS team is excited to start working with the student teams and partner organisations. Let the fun begin!


Introducing our partner organisations!

We have been silently preparing for the sprint but it’s time to introduce our partner organisations this year.


Disior is a company transforming treatments and providing the best experience of having possible treatments. Disior™’s analytics software is a fast and cost-effective way to obtain reliable information from medical images in three-dimensions. They design 3D image analytics software for clinicians. They have the best simulation and modelling systems.  

Using their software, surgeons are able to plan surgery in more detail compared to conventional methods. They currently have various modules like 3D treatment planning for foot and ankle, hand and wrist, bonelogic planning module etc. These modules have helped in creating patient-specific treatment plans.  Each anatomy-specific module enables specialist clinicians to have the objective data needed for diagnosis, treatment planning and assessment of treatment outcomes. Disior is solving the problem of manually getting information from CT and CBCT imaging, which includes the key to understanding a patient’s symptoms. Automating the process makes it faster in terms of time and less prone to human error.  

Disior as a company says, ”Our software has helped make treatment decisions easier and facilitated better outcomes for patients”. Disior has received a lot of good feedback from across Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. 

Find more about Disior here:

Spouse Program

The Spouse Program is a service provided by the city of Helsinki and it is part of the implementation of the Talent Boost Programme of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM) and the Ministry of Education and Culture (OKM). The service is mainly targeted at spouses who have relocated to Finland with their partners. Through this service, they provide a supportive and active community and offer you valuable guidance. As of now, the service is available for international spouses living in Helsinki, Espoo or Vantaa.  

The service has received a lot of good feedback. One of the feedback included it helped to provide support to rebuild social and professional networks. This program is also aiming to make Helsinki and the capital region more inclusive. As the community has started to grow huge, the people in the community help each other to understand the Finnish job market, how to build my CV, how to make a compelling pitch, and correctly utilize LinkedIn. On the other hand, the program is helping companies to find the right talent from a pool of highly skilled talent. Currently, they have 40 partnering organizations, including companies, public players and NGOs. The program offers career coaching, workshops & events, and a professional network for pitching. 

Find more about Spouse Program here:


Finnadvance is a 3 year old company that is accelerating drug development. The company develops platforms which recreate tissue models with microfluidic flow patterning and hydrogel coatings. These models simulate tissue and organ function, mechanics and physiological response, simulating human organs in miniature.  

Finnadvance has scaled down animal tests, 26% cost reduction for drug development, multiple organ-on-chip designs, and succeeded in clinical trials with better preclinical data. They have designed multiple Organ-On-Chips that can mimic various tissues in humans and animals. The tissues include among others the Blood-Brain-Barrier, Vasculature and Lungs. The need for the platform has already been confirmed by several academic research collaborators. They also offer collaboration opportunities to Academic Research Groups. 

Finnadvance has secured a €1.2 million seed financing round led by Finnish investor Athensmed and has many other investors like Voima Ventures, Icebreaker, Takoa Invest. 

Find more about Finnadvance here:

CSE Entertainment

CSE Entertainment is a world-class developer of virtual reality, interactive fitness and rehabilitation games and devices from Kajaani. They aim to make everyone smile and enjoy their daily dose of movement, whether, during a daily exercise at the fitness club, casual power break between the glasses at the school, waiting at the next flight at the airport or even during at the rehabilitation period at the hospital. Their specialities are in exergaming, fitness, education and sport.

The company was founded in 2012. They categorise themselves within Wellness and Fitness services and want to make fitness a fun activity. All their products are designed and manufactured in Finland. Their products include an iWall which motivates people to move with the help of games, tapWall which is a touch screen with memory and reaction speed exercises for all ages and runBeat which is a treadmill-based competition game. Their cycloBEAT game lets you race another on an exercise bike, their groupBEAT makes group exercise more fun and personal whereas rehabWall helps in rehabilitation treatments.  

Find more about CSE Entertainment here:



Enrolment to the Digital Wellbeing Sprint starts today!

Do you want to learn to use the Design Sprint Methodology and develop digital services Join the Digital Wellbeing Sprint now

During the Digital Wellbeing Sprint, you will learn to use the Google Ventures 5 Day Design Sprint to address a specific challenge from a partner organization. The intensive week will provide you with hands-on skills that you will be able to use in your career and studies in the future. 

The Digital Wellbeing Sprint is an intensive course for both bachelor and master level students in the 3AMK Universities of Applied Sciences: Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia. 

The intensive course is organized online on 18 May – 25 May 2022

All student teams will be paired up with an organization working within the health or wellbeing sector. The participating partner organizations and their challenges will be announced before the sprint and you will be able to choose which challenge you want to work on during the sprint. 

During the sprint, your team will examine the organization’s sprint challenge, prototype a solution and test it with possible users. You will also hear inspirational speakers from the field, speaking about digital health and wellbeing in the future. 

The Digital Wellbeing Sprint consists of assignments before and after the sprint and of working in teams for the full, intensive days during the sprint. 

This year the course will be organized once more online, in English and you will get 5 ECTS for completion of the course. 

Last year’s students described the sprint as amazing, fun, and intensive. So sign up and come experience the excitement yourself this year! 

Enrolment is active 14 March – 27 March 2022, sign up now by clicking here!

Find out more information about the course from here or read our blog posts from previous years.


Join us as a tutor in the DWS 2022!

The application period to be a tutor at the Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2022 was extended to the 7th of February!! We are looking for Master students (University of Applied Sciences) to facilitate this year’s Digital Wellbeing Sprint. The DWS is being organized 18-25 May 2022, mostly virtually but Covid-19 permitting some of the days can be held in a face to face environment in Helsinki. 

Your tasks will include: 

Participating in the 3UAS Digital Wellbeing Sprint intensive course as a tutor. During the DWS, multidisciplinary teams of students from 3UAS (Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia) create development ideas for healthcare and wellbeing service providers from the public and private sectors. Your task as a tutor is to support the development process and the students work. You can choose your own perspective as a tutor: supporting the service design process, external communication, improving the group dynamics etc. As a tutor, you will participate in shaping and designing the sprint before the course, facilitate the group work during the sprint, and support the evaluation of students after the sprint. 

Read some of the experiences from last year’s tutors here: Galina, Elena, Tanja, Kirsi, Johanna and Jaana

What we offer: 

  • Experience in organizing a Google Ventures Design Sprint
  • An exciting and fun course, where you will develop hands-on service design skills
  • 5 ECTS credits
  • The possibility to network with professionals in the health and wellbeing sectors
  • One of the tutors will be offered the part-time position of project manager for the DWS 2023 next year. 

We expect that you are capable to collaborate with different people and that you have some experience in development work. We appreciate a positive attitude, innovative and curious mindset and willingness to learn new skills and develop the sprint with other tutors. 

We have decided to extend the deadline for tutor application! Apply to be a tutor at the Digital Wellbeing Sprint by the 7th of February 2022 by clicking here and telling us a few words about yourself and your motivation!

More information: Päivi Mantere, Merja Lahdenperä, Jarmo Sarkkinen tai projektipäällikkö Elena Howlader 


Who knew that studying can be this exciting? Learnings…

I had the greatest pleasure of being a member of the amazing tutor team in the 2021 Digital Wellbeing Sprint. I was tutoring and facilitating the process for the Emooter team. This was my first time to get to know the five day Design Sprint created by Jake Knapp. I was very impressed of how smartly the process has been put together, combining series of co-creation methods, team work as well as individual thinking time. In this blog, I reflect and share some of my key learnings from this trip. 

Originally, the Design Sprint is planned to last five days, from 10 am to 5 pm and from Monday to Friday. In the Digital Wellbeing Sprint we have extended this by two days and had a bit of extra time in the beginning for the challenge introductions and team building and had a pitch day at the end of the week. Besides that, we followed the Design Sprint process quite closely. The process starts by defining the challenge, the long term goal and the specific sprint questions. After setting the target, ideation begins, continues with sketching towards making a decision of what to prototype and test. And final pitches – quite straight forward and well instructed in the Sprint book (Jake Knapp: Sprint – How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days) and yet full of learning moments in all levels!

1. Trust the Process

First of all, this was a great opportunity to learn the Design Sprint process itself. As Service Designers tend to say, learn by doing. By attending the event, you learn a variety of methods, how to combine them and how to make it a coherent and logical process. We arranged this online, so it gave also the opportunity to do it all remotely and on the Miro board. If you’re not familiar with the agile ways of working, this is one way to learn some examples of how it can be done in agile software development also in the real world in IT companies. 

The process guides you to do this one step at a time. It may feel confusing and big in the beginning, but trust the process, it works (it has been tested so many times). At times I felt that it’s going so quickly and I always feel that some good ideas are not thought of because there isn’t enough time. Then I realized that the process supports the ideas to evolve and develop, so just trust the process.

2. Teamwork is the key 

Secondly, as a facilitator of the process, this was the front seat to follow teamwork. How the team forms from a group of individuals into a team which has a goal, is motivated and committed to succeed and perform, in a very short time. And to be honest, having a team, is what makes this process work. The week is busy and it is very important that the team members are committed to the process and everybody does their part. I can guarantee that the final prototype does not get built by just one person and one idea, it is built by the team and it has the fingerprint from everyone of the team. The process also supports this in a very clever way of having stages in which everybody works on their own and presents their findings or sketches to others and then they are developed further as a team.

The process is also so quick and tightly scheduled that you also have to take a leap of faith and trust your team members. There is no time to go over everything all the time with everybody, you just have to share the tasks and believe that there will be something to test on the final day. Just remember to communicate and agree who is doing what. So basic, but in practice often forgotten or assumed that the others know, they don’t. (I often wonder this – why is it that we think that the others know what I’m thinking? Because we think that the others think like I do, well they don’t.) And this is what makes teamwork so great. A team always makes so much more than each individual on their own. 

3. Facilitation in Zoom 

This was an excellent teacher for facilitation skills, too. The process is quite well constructed and in that way easy to follow. You don’t need to search for appropriate methods. We added our own energizers for the mornings and sometimes in the afternoons to keep everybody focused, but otherwise followed the methods suggested in the book. 

As mentioned, we did this all remotely and it was my first time to do a longer process like this as a facilitator. The Miro board definitely helped and it would have been difficult to facilitate without it. Facilitating remotely is very efficient, because you don’t need to wait for everybody to come back to the main room, you just close the break-out room and that’s it.  

I’m more experienced in face to face coaching and facilitating and I noticed that it was really difficult to follow that everyone is onboard. At some stages (especially in the beginning) it’s important to be quick and vocal which is difficult for some (myself included). Some, but definitely not all thinking and processing can be observed the same way remotely than it is face to face.   

4. Keep focused  

Lastly, the most important lesson from this (and in life in general), is to keep focused. Having a clear target is so important when time is scarce. And time always is. We are challenged by so many interruptions nowadays that you need to be very determined to keep yourself focused on the target. It’s so easy to get distracted. But first you need to set the goal. 

The author of the Sprint book, Knapp, talks about this in the video. The idea of the 5 day Sprint has started with the thought of how to be productive and more efficient, so that you also have time to do other important stuff in life.  

And what is important? Wellbeing, which brings me to my very last point: 

5. The Emooter 

Graphical user interface

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I have to say that our team was working on an a very important and interesting challenge from Emooter . The challenge was to ideate how Emooter can combine physical wellbeing data from personal devices with self-reported mental wellbeing data within the Emooter app in a way that is interesting and motivating for the users. I was personally very excited about the challenge and as a facilitator it was sometimes difficult to keep my own ideas on the side. Emooter is on a very important mission, so if you’re reading this, please take a look. I wish all the best to Emooter, I hope they become a success!  

I am very grateful that I took part in this. Thank you to the whole tutor crew, the most positive and encouraging, Michelle, our Project Manager, the teachers Jarmo, Päivi and Merja. And to all teams – I hope you found the experience exciting and educational, you all did a great job! In just 7 days you built a start for something new and amazing (and even if you didn’t, you just failed fast and didn’t waste too much time on it.) But this was no waste of time, either way it’s time well spent! 

About the author:

Jaana Marin is a Service Design Master student at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Jaana is an experienced team manager with coaching skills and business background. She is passionate about creating working life that is based on trust, learning and well-being. Currently, she is working as a People Lead in the IT field. 



How to create a fruitful design sprint? Insights from…

In a design sprint, a team with different skills and personalities go through certain steps, creating a tested prototype in only five days. During Digital Wellbeing Sprint in May 2021, our student teams did the same in a slightly modified process. Instead of five days, we had seven. And more importantly, because of the covid-19 situation, we had to do this all in a virtual environment. What are the key elements for a facilitator to consider in a design sprint? In this blog post, I want to give some insights for creating a successful design sprint from a facilitator’s perspective.  

The design sprint is probably most often used when new digital services are created. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. A sprint can be used in various industries when new solutions are needed. What does a sprint mean, concretely? Typically, a sprint means an accelerated phase of development. It is both a methodology and a state of mind. A sprint is effective, when the participating team is committed and distribute their work accordingly in order to achieve a common goal. To get to this, the team needs a superb facilitator to help them keep on track. Could that be you? 

My advice for a facilitator is following: 

🗝 Keep all materials in one place 

🗝 Build cohesion in your team 

🗝 Trust the people 

🗝 Give just enough time 

🗝 No for too detailed instructions 

🗝 Trust the process 

I’ll cover all of these in more detail in the following paragraphs. Most of the facilitation tips are valid in both live and virtual events. I put extra effort on guidance in virtual venue, so that you can avoid some fatal mistakes if you’re planning a remote design sprint! 

Keep all materials in one place 

When realizing a virtual sprint, you need to be extra careful to keep people on board. Literally. We used a platform for virtual whiteboard to create a common space for sprint teams. We customized the template for Official 5-Day Design Sprint in Miro to meet our needs. Other (and in my opinion the only) relevant option for a co-creation platform would be Mural. In Miro, you can do almost everything sprint related, even host the meeting. If you need to share files (consider if that’s really necessary), you have to have another platform or tool as well. 

By using a single source for creating and ideating, people can take much in by just a glance. A virtual whiteboard is an essential tool to so that people can remind themselves with what you have created, accomplished and agreed on previous stages. Isn’t it annoying to open and close files so that you can find what you are looking for? Using a virtual whiteboard in sprint tackles this. 

Build cohesion in your team 

A solid cohesion and open atmosphere are a must in a design sprint. In a design process, we often talk about divergence and convergence. This means that you need to move between ideation and decision-making phases, one after another. In a divergent phase, more ideas or opportunities are sought. This is followed by convergent phase, in which the pieces come together, and you seek for a clear decision. Without an atmosphere where all thoughts and ideas from all participants are welcome, trust and psychological safety are at risk. This can lead to lack of innovation and thus failing to accomplish initial goals. 

You can build cohesion and group spirit with various means. Remember to take enough breaks, and try to encourage discussion. The list of warm-ups and energizers is endless. Google will take you far with finding best energizers for virtual or live events. My favourite listings can be found from SkyboundImpact by Design, and Hyperisland’s Toolbox. With your facilitation style, it is possible to reinforce trust, empathy, and creativity in your team. 

Trust the people 

In a virtual sprint, it is difficult or even impossible to have total control of the team as a facilitator. But don’t you worry even though you’re not in charge. It can be difficult to cope with the uncertainty the physical distance brings but the sprint is not about you. As a facilitator, you’re there only to make things easier.  

Most likely, you’re facilitating the work of capable and skilled professionals. They are adults, and you can’t control what they actually do or don’t do. Based on that, the only thing you can do is to trust that everyone does their part. In the beginning of the sprint, perhaps more instructions and guidance are needed, but as the days go on, the team will start to work more or less autonomously. Their challenge drives and motivates them, and you can stay in the back unless the team needs you. 

Give just enough time 

Planning the schedule for your sprint is one of the most crucial preparation tasks. Your role as a facilitator is to take care that the schedule is being followed. Not respecting your carefully planned schedule is as useful as stealing money from yourself. By lagging, you snitch time from all the tasks you need to complete later. 

At times, the sprint might feel chaotic and hectic. It’s easy to get stuck on details and prolong conversations. However, hurrying up at some phases during the sprint won’t hurt, as long as you complete all tasks. As a facilitator, your role is to remind the team about the big picture: the sprint is all about innovative ideas and testing them. What you’re developing during the sprint doesn’t have to be flawless. You’re risking your team’s wellbeing and sprint goals if you keep stretching the schedule. 

No for too detailed instructions 

When you’re running a design sprint for the first time, it’s easy to babble endlessly about what to do next. You can be even a little confused yourself because you don’t know what to expect. But you know what? The same goes for your team. They’re just as eager, anxious, excited, and confused as you are. They don’t remember half of what you just explained. Rather than telling people what to do, show them, and then let them do it themselves.  

In a design process in general, concrete doing beats theoretical planning. You’ll achieve a lot more, when you just start doing instead of trying to find consensus of how to proceed. If people are not familiar with the programs or platforms you use, they won’t learn them by you teaching them. They’ll learn by doing. In addition, a design sprint is the perfect place to try new, crazy things in a structured way. Don’t stifle your team’s creativity and ideas by too detailed instructions, they’ll only get confused and restricted.  

Trust the process 

In the beginning, it might feel a little overwhelming that you should have a working prototype after only a few short days. In Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021, we had six student teams with different challenges and partner companies. All of them completed the sprint with a tested prototype and a spectrum of insights for the client. 

Simply, the design sprint methodology works. Just trust the process. 

Photo by Terotemedia

Text by Johanna Hentunen, a master student of service design in Laurea UAS. Johanna has a long experience in facilitating workshops, interviews, and events. This was her first take on design sprint, but definitely not the last. Currently, Johanna works at Business Jyväskylä, enhancing ecosystem networking among different stakeholders to create growth and boost innovation. Let’s connect on LinkedIn! 


Seven intense days in the virtual Design Sprint: lots…

Exchanging ideas and designing solutions as a team works fine remotely, too

I had the joy and privilege to participate in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021 as a facilitator. This was the second time this event was arranged as a remote course. It would have been wonderful to meet everyone face to face, but it was not possible yet and actually co-working virtually has become new normal during the pandemic. Fortunately, most of us have got used to virtual meetings along the covid time and therefore I’m sure this year’s gathering in Zoom was in many ways easier than last year’s. I also believe we are going to work in this way more and more in the future. I assume remote teamwork with professionals living in different parts of the world and country is going to increase.

So, this was a chance for all of us to learn more about co-working virtually in innovative and creative way, too.

There were also other benefits in arranging a remote Sprint. Attending to meet the teams was easier to the company representatives and interviewees. And students could use more time to work with the challenges since they didn’t need to travel to school.

But there were also side effects. Working in Zoom and Miro is much more loading than face to face, all the team members sitting around the same table. It is more difficult to create team spirit remotely, too. People tend to get energy from each other and talk more about their private lives when they sit face to face by a cup of coffee in the canteen. Instead, co-operating virtually is energy-intensive and tends to be more focused to working. Breaks are needed more often even in a tight scheduled Sprint.

We tried to help students to stay focused and arranged collective refreshing moments and pause exercises during the week. – They were all popular and welcomed. – We also had a nice getting to know each other conversation in the beginning of the Sprint, in teams’ own break-out rooms. Students told a bit of themselves and about their superpower. It was a nice way to start co-operation and share your knowledge before getting to work.

Design Sprint is intensive time, with many kinds of brainwaves and feelings

The idea behind the Design Sprint methodology is based on collaboration, co-ideation and solving problems together. We humans are social heard animals and often find the best solutions when working together. No matter which are the (virtual) tools.

Even though initially Design Sprint was designed to be carried out with people being in the same room, we make it happen remotely, too. And even remotely it is full of emotions. It is said that Design Sprint can be an emotional ride and I agree. It can be something from confusion and tiredness to excitement and laughter. The prototyping day is claimed to be especially full of different kinds of emotions. As a refreshing start for the day, we asked the students to forecast the day’s mental climate.

Students’ playful weather forecast for the prototyping day

Design Sprint is made of shared and recombined understanding

Members of the teams managed to get acquainted with each other despite the remote teamwork and not meeting each other ever before. When we asked in the end of the Sprint “What was the Sprint like, what did you learn?”, in the answers it is the team and teamwork that arises in the word cloud. Having a common challenge and time pressure tends to encourage individuals to unite their knowledge and strengths. As one of the facilitators I also hope we facilitators were able to help our teams in both understanding the Sprint process and in team formulation. All in all, I’m sure we students (team members and facilitators) all learned a lot: about the Sprint process but also from other students with different kinds of backgrounds and skills.

Students answers to “What kind of experience was the Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021? What did you learn??

Trust the process and miracles happen

For many of us Design Sprint can be a truly revolutionary way to innovate, if you are used to long, detailed, and slow working practices. Here the idea is to design, prototype and test your concept, develop an action plan, or solve a tricky problem in just 5 days. – Or in our case in 6 days. – You just have to trust the process and work intensively. There were moments of distrust along the way, but the process really worked. We were all impressed about the results when all the teams had their pitches on the 7th day. In students’ comments the process was described for example as a miracle or magic. No wonder it is used by the most innovative companies in the world. I strongly recommend participating when you get the chance to experience a Design Sprint and learn the method!

About the writer of the blog

Kirsi Raitanen studies Service Design at Laurea UAS. Her previous professional background is in the marketing business as a Graphic Designer. She is also a Social Psychologist (M.Soc.Sc.). Creativity, teamwork, and developing are special interests of hers. She thinks Design Sprints fascinates her partly because of her background in creative teamwork, partly because of her drive to find new solutions in an agile way.


What I learned during the Sprint

[At the time of writing] It has been almost a week since the last day of the Digital Wellbeing Sprint (DWS). The Sprint seems almost like a far away memory, but still I can´t really wrap my head around it and understand what really happened.  This blogpost will serve as a reflection on my learnings and hopefully inspire you dear reader to perhaps participate in a DWS yourself.

The sprint was very intense. It would have been very difficult to attend this sprint if I had had a fulltime job. I started my Master’s studies in August 2020, so this course took place at the end of my first year. I’m sure this has been the best course I have attended this far. I learned so much! It really combined the wellbeing aspect, service design, the digital world and remote working tools and methods.

My role was to be a tutor. I didn’t have much previous experience as a facilitator. I would have been so lost without a course I took which just ended a week before the Sprint started. The course was all about enhancing your coaching and facilitation skills. I got to rehearse my learnings in real life, and it was perfect! (By the way, I warmly recommend attending that course as well).

So, here is a few things I can say I learned. I learned that groupwork can be challenging but rewarding. The teams excellence is so much more than only one individuals talent. Our tutor team for example had much talent from different fields and we were able to divide tasks accordingly. But there was still always room for practicing and learning new things. The whole team was also committed to the process and always ready to support each other and we had the best project manager ever! She really knew what she was doing, at least it felt that way. She kept the atmosphere positive the whole time, she didn’t tell us what to do, she just asked very good questions that guided us to the right direction. The best part was, that she had also attended as a tutor at the previous year’s Sprint, so she remembered the stress of her own and was able to reassure us, that everything will work out just fine. It was great to see how she facilitated us tutors and by doing that she also gave us a very good example on how to work with our own teams during the sprint.

The planning for the Sprint started already many months before the Sprint took place. To plan the sprint is a totally different thing than running the sprint. But of course, planning is necessary, but it is impossible to plan every detail in advance. I´m sure I would know better on the second round. One of the best phrases: “Trust the process” was almost a joke already, but it is so true!! All kinds of emotions run through your head during the Sprint process, and it is totally normal. I must confess, that there were a few times during the sprint that I almost questioned that trust. But I kept telling myself: trust the process.

I felt that one of the hardest things for me was to stay as an outsider when my team was talking about the challenge assigned to them. I would have liked to take apart in the conversation and add my own eyesight, but it wasn’t my role to guide them in any specific direction or affect in their decision making in any way. I needed to stay neutral, do my part and cheer the team and keep the ball rolling. It was so amazing to see the team working and solving the “puzzle” and really see how the methods worked in real life. There are many methods that I can see using in the future to enhance and speed up decision making and making sure that everyone’s opinion is heard. I truly am amazed about the outcome of this course. Every team really made amazing prototypes and brought value with their work to the partner organizations. Win, win, win in every aspect. Great concept!

I hadn’t had any previous experience in service design either. I was actually thinking of taking a course at it..but you know what? I don’t think I need to do that anymore. I have lived it, done it, so there is no need to “go back” and learn the theory anymore. I learn best by doing and I’m pretty sure it works best for most people.

So..If you want to feel alive (feel the stress and achievement), you NEED to attend a Sprint!

Sincerely, Tanja


Making the best out of a virtual Design Sprint.…

This blog post is a reflection on the learnings gathered as a tutor in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021 (DWS) that brought together a very diverse group of students both Bachelor and Master levels from the 3UAS ( Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia) and 6 partner organisations.

The Digital Wellbeing Sprint is a seven days event that follows closely the Google Ventures Design Sprint Methodology created by Jake Knapp and used to validate ideas through design, prototyping, user testing and collaboration. The Sprint methodology is one of the fastest and cheapest way to validate a business strategy or product idea with real users.  (Knapp et al. 2016)

Design sprints can be intense, but they’re also fun, and very insightful as long as the sprint process goes smoothly. In order for this to happen, some planning was required.

Before I continue I must admit I was getting some cold feet right before the Digital Wellbeing Sprint started. Months of preparation, reading through the material, and creating the schedule and when the Sprint was about to begin I started to question if I am ready for this. As it turns out I was ready, I just needed to pass that single moment of discomfort and trust that it will be great. And it was really amazing!

A successful virtual Digital Wellbeing Sprint

As this was the second time that the DWS was organised virtually, I believe that was one of the reasons the process went very smooth and according to the plan, the main reason was most likely a good project manager and a great team of tutors and teachers.

My role as a tutor

As a tutor I was having an active role both in the preparation of the sprint, communications as well as facilitating one group of students through the process for the duration of the Sprint. It’s true the students did most of the work, but the facilitator has an important task of ensuring the process goes smooth and everyone knows what to do. The time really flies during the sprint and every second counts, so it’s very important how the students use their time. Having someone to answer their questions, keep track of their progress and making sure they are on target is vital.

Biggest challenge during the sprint

Team dynamics is challenging in virtual settings however my observation is that after more than one year of working partially or completely remotely, people are used to virtual meetings and style of working. To be fair, I don’t have the experience of a face to face sprint, but I feel the process was very smooth and overall everyone progressed nicely and enjoyed the experience.

The biggest challenge for me was keeping the team of students within the schedule. The time goes fast and as we move from one task to the other staying in schedule is essential. Another difficult task for the facilitator is not to interfere too much and bring your own opinion about the challenge. We need to ask many question and enable the students to figure out things by themselves, but knowing when to be silent and when to add a useful comment is not an easy task.

Learnings and outcomes

The seven days of the sprint were packed with motivational speakers, tasks and great collaboration but at the end of the week we all felt a great sense of accomplishment going through the agile way of working and reaching the other side a bit wiser and a bit more inspired. 

My favourite part of the sprint was learning how the sprint methodology works in practice. Reading about it and actually doing it, or better yet, having to explain it to others is probably the absolute best way to learn something.

Being a part of the DWS organising team has been an excellent learning experience for me. As a bonus I got to develop hands on service design skills and facilitation skills as well as created great bond with a wonderful team of tutors. I also got to do an interview with one of the partner companies, write blog posts, help design the sprint, listened to some really inspiring motivational speeches during the sprint and had a great time doing it.

This blog was written by Elena Howlader, facilitator in Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021. Elena is currently studying Service Innovation and Design Masters degree in Laurea University of Applied Science and has a background in visual design.


How to organize a design sprint using Design Sprint…

Have you heard of Google Ventures’ Design Sprint and are eager to get involved? Maybe you are keen on facilitating one but don’t know where to start? Then you are at the right place! This blog post aims to describe the process of organizing a design sprint within the Design Sprint process. Talk about eating our own dog food, right?

The original Design Sprint by Jake Knapp looks like the following:

It takes only 5 days from a challenge to learning, there is also a modification by A&J Smart which takes only 4 days (pro tip: don’t miss out on their videos when organizing your sprint), and finally, there is the 3UAS design sprint which takes 7 days with additional introduction and team building at the beginning of the sprint and pitching session in the end. In your (future) career you will also discover all kinds of sprints, don’t be surprised by those modifications: usually people have tried it before, they learnt that it doesn’t work in this form and then improved it accordingly. The point of the sprint is to learn, thus as long as you don’t skip any steps, you are a winner!

  • Challenge: It is important to pick the right challenge and the right team for a sprint. Guess what? In Digital Wellbeing Sprint, there are 6-8 challenges provided by companies operating in different sectors of health and wellbeing. Check out these blogs to learn more about some of the challenges that students are solving. Students participating in the sprint are then divided into teams in accordance with their interests. Because companies and students don’t know each other, it makes sense to spend some time for a proper introduction, that’s why we spend an extra day for mapping and choosing the target.
  • Map the whole sprint together. It’s crucial for the team to be aligned on what is happening, how, and when. Have a “map” (a document, a board, an excel, whatever works for you) with all the details to be filled out later. Everyone should be able to consult the map when lost.
  • Sketch your sprint by creating a Miro/Mural (some other digital tool) board. The template is already available for you! Even if your team is fortunate to organize an on-site design sprint, these digital tools developed during the remote sprint experience will help you to divide tasks during each sprint day and be a star facilitator of your team! ⭐
  • Decide who is doing what (in other words divide and conquer). There are plenty of things to do before, during, and after every sprint day, it can quickly become overwhelming to try to remember all of the exercises, tasks, partners, etc. Share the responsibilities among the team and rock (don’t forget to update your map though).
  • Design Sprint prototyping is all about a ”fake it till you make it” philosophy, sometimes things are hard to grasp, but trust the process, everyone will contribute their part into the sprint, things will work out because you are all in this together and you can do it!
  • Test with each other, and later with the participants (=real clients)! Did you come up with an interesting energizer? Try it with the team and friends. Is someone having trouble staying on time? (Spoiler: me) Ask a teammate to time your performance and give feedback. Check each other’s parts to spot some minor inconsistencies, it helps everyone.
  • Everyone is here to learn. If something worked or it didn’t – everything is a learning experience for you to take into the next sprint 😉This is a perfect opportunity to learn hands-on on what is design thinking, what is design sprint, how to facilitate anything, when to seek customers’ input and why is it so important, the list goes on…
  • Showtime! This is an additional day in Digital Wellbeing Sprint, when all teams are pitching their solution to the partner companies and other students, in the case of this blog, this is an actual sprint week when it’s your time to shine and facilitate the super talented teams of students. The weeks of preparations are now over, and the only thing left to do is to enjoy the ride 🎉
  • Bonus step: Enjoy, have fun, and don’t forget to celebrate once you wrap up your sprint! Organizing a design sprint is not an easy task to do, it requires a can-do attitude and a great team to work along, once you wrap up your pitching day, invite everyone to share a treat together (it can be a little chocolate treat, or a glass of sparkling, everyone is free to choose their own). You all earned to have a party 🎂

To wrap up, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words and one prototype worth a thousand pictures. My two cents are a sprint is worth a thousand prototypes 😜 The best way to find out if organizing the sprint is for you – is to try it for yourself, if you made it this far in this blog, perhaps the next step for you is to apply to become a tutor!

I am very grateful I got a chance to facilitate Digital Wellbeing Sprint together with such talents as Johanna, Elena, Jaana, Kirsi & Tanja, Michelle – our wonderful (and “super glue”) project manager, special thanks to the organizing team of teachers who supported us throughout the journey – Merja Lahdenperä, Päivi Mantere & Jarmo Sarkkinen, and finally all the students who participated the sprint! <3

About the author:

I’m Galina, I’m studying for an MBA in Service Innovation and Design at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. I was honoured to facilitate Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2021; my background is in tech start-ups and event management. Happy to connect on LinkedIn!