Kategoria: DWS

Multiple remote Design Sprints – the agile way of…

Multiple remote Design Sprints – the agile way of solving challenges in times of pandemics (12 steps for designers)

Design Sprint Methodology was invented by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz to solve challenges and test new ideas in companies in just a few days. When the first Sprint book was published in 2016, the authors were not sure if the methodology would work remotely. A few years later, the remote version of Sprint was created. It seems like an ideal solution in times of pandemics for companies that operate fully remotely, but does it really work? Does it work for multiple sprints happening simultaneously and teams of people who have just met? 

Spoiler alert, we confirm Design Sprints can be done successfully remotely. What is more, it can be done on a large scale – you can successfully run 8 sprints simultaneously. In our case, it was 8 teams solving challenges provided by 6 companies from the health and wellbeing sector. Finally, design sprints, though designed for solving challenges by a team already familiar with the company and challenge, can also work for strangers new to the problem collaborating together. 

To make it happen however, the process requires some modifications.  Let me share some useful tips which may help you in organising your remote Design Sprint(s). I will try not to repeat key learnings and practices already listed by my colleague, Salla Kuuluvainen , which couldn’t have been better written and I highly recommend reading Key learnings from designing a remote multi sprint event. I will rather elaborate on some of them and add some more practical takeaways for those who consider organising multiple remote sprints. 

12 steps worth considering while designing multiple remote design sprints:

1.Give more time

The original Sprint is 5 days long. There is also the modification by A&J Smart, approved by Sprint authors, which lasts 4 days only. If you run 8 sprints simultaneously, participants are new to the challenge, and team building is required, even 5 days are not enough. You need more time at the beginning of the Sprint. This is why we split the first day program into two. Finally, we also added a Pitch day when teams presented their solutions to companies.

The original program of Sprint modified for the Digital Wellbeing Sprint needs. Original image from Mural Design Sprint template by Steph Cruchon (Design Sprint Ltd), Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Jackie Colburn.

The original program of Sprint modified for the Digital Wellbeing Sprint needs. Original image from Mural Design Sprint template by Steph Cruchon (Design Sprint Ltd), Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Jackie Colburn.

2. Have the right amount of remote design sprint team members.

It is said that the optimal amount of Design Sprint participants is up to 7 people. In terms of the online version of a Sprint, with team members who do not know each other and are unfamiliar with the company and the challenge, it is better to have teams of less than 7 members. We had a chance to observe the dynamic of 8 groups consisting of 4 to 6 participants and among them the most developed prototypes had groups consisting of 5 participants. It might have been due to each team’s challenge area of focus. Nevertheless, the online group dynamic is definitely different than offline. Particularly, if you need to include team building in the Sprint process, I would recommend having 5 members per team.

3. Have the right challenge – one per Sprint

The challenge at Design Sprint needs to be well-defined. Unlike other design processes, in the Google Design Sprint process there is no time to do research on the problem and empathise with users, so teams need to rely on company representative knowledge. This is why the company representative needs to be present, especially in the moments where the role of the Decider is crucial (defining a long-term goal and sprint questions, adjusting a map, picking a target, selecting a solution to prototype).

We noticed that teams who had company representatives involved throughout the process were able to produce results which were much more appreciated and valued by the companies. Not to mention that the companies also benefited from fruitful discussions and ideas which weren’t picked to prototype. 

4. Ignite the additional power of  innovation “stealing” and individual ideation

What I personally appreciate from The Design sprint methodology is the included time for finding inspiration, the so-called Lightning demo. When you look at all great innovation, you will notice that it is based on existing ideas. We equipped participants with an additional source of inspiration by providing keynote speakers from IBM, Sitra, Helsinki Business Hub or Proimpro.

Additionally, the Sprint authors understood the power of individual ideation instead of popular group brainstorming sessions. Group brainstorming sessions are proven to be less effective in terms of the amount and quality of ideas compared to individuals working alone according to research done by Yale University in 1958. This is why the Design Sprint authors introduced “brainwriting and drawing” (sketching) in their Sprint Methodology. Through this process you can be sure of the quality of ideas but you need some quantity as well.

Examples of Design Sprint ideas on Mural (Art museum)
Examples of Design Sprint ideas on Mural (Art museum)

If you have less than seven team members, which is recommended in terms of online Sprints, you will have less inspiring examples in the Lightning Demo part. In addition, you will have less examples in ideation later unless you increase the requested number of ideas per person in the instructions. I would highly recommend you do it.  

5. Instead of storyboards ask for user flows (if relevant)

Storyboards are usually associated with a comic story with heroes which is great for visualising an offline service or a customer journey. However, storyboards in the design sprint are a map and guideline for your prototype. If your prototype is supposed to be online e.g. a website or an app, which is more likely in the virtual sprint, it may be useful to simply call it a user flow from the user experience field. Otherwise it may be confusing. 

6. Have a tangible prototype which can be tested online

One of the Sprint Days is entirely dedicated to prototyping. It seems too short, but it is enough to develop a working facade of your solution to test it with users. This amount of time prevents you from spending hours on polishing the wrong solution. Instead, you will have a low fidelity prototype which enables you to collect better feedback. People are more willing to share their real thoughts once you show them the functional draft instead of a high quality version. There is one more rule you need to follow when doing the Design Sprint online. You need to have this prototype adjusted to online testing. It needs to be understandable and interactive online and you need to take this into account while developing it.

A woman carrying a phone and sitting in front of her laptop

7. The core of Sprint is testing with real users. 

The first challenge to solve here is to find the right testers. It may be tricky especially if you don’t know who your users are. You can start recruiting during a Sprint once you specify your target. However, whenever possible I would recommend asking companies to engage in providing testers. They are the ones who know their clients  best and they will be more willing to believe in results provided. It is proven that 4 testers allow you to have 85% of problems identified. However, having the 5th tester enables you to really spot those patterns (Nielsen et al., 1993).

For testing, you will need to use some online communication tool which enables a tester to share its screen and have the camera switched on at the same time for example: Zoom, Teams, Skype. It is better to use a different communication tool for testing than the one you use for the whole Sprint. A good practice for interview observers is to have the camera switched off in contrast to the interviewee and interviewer. 

Other than above, the rules of interviewing are the same as offline.

8. Have one common tool for communication

We used Zoom and Mural as well as Onedrive and Moodle for communication with teams. Salla tackled it in her article. We also allowed teams to self-organise regarding their communication giving them a choice to use any tool including Basecamp, a tool recommended by the Design Sprint authors. No team picked Basecamp but it turned out that having one common place where tutors can add materials and where teams can share their results could be very helpful. Basecamp could easily replace Onedrive, Moodle and any other tool used for internal team material sharing and discussions. If I were to run 8 sprints once again, I would definitely use Basecamp for all Design Sprint communication, especially knowing how intuitive it is.

Digital Wellbeing Sprint on Basecamp
Digital Wellbeing Sprint on Basecamp

9. Use diverse online energisers

Using the chat feature is a great way to energise your Sprint participants, but don’t overuse it. The core of energisers is diversity and novelty for your participants. Use breakout rooms when it requires one-on-one or small team interactions. The order in which your neighbours appear on your Zoom screen is exactly the same as everyone else sees it, so you may easily invent some interactions based on this. 

Design Sprint community
Group photo with our Sprint community

10. Tandem virtual facilitation work

It is always good to facilitate Sprints in a 2 person team as the second facilitator who is not giving instructions can easily spot group needs and be able to immediately jump in if any technological issue appears, for example, being on mute. The second facilitator can also follow the questions on chat and react to them while you are showing the Mural boards. This is why in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint tutors were divided into 2 person teams.

11.Overcoming a groan zone during the Design Sprint

If you don’t always  have a Decider  in the room, who helps at Design sprints to minimize the risk of experiencing a groan zone, you are more likely to encounter it. For those who do not have a clue what a groan zone is, it is a common moment in the design process where you feel overwhelmed and confused and are not sure how to proceed. 

If this happens, make everyone speak and share their concerns and ideas for a solution and clarify the purpose. You can name it and say that it is typical. Aim to find a way for a team compromise. Have your cameras switched on whenever possible, so that others know that you are present and listening to them.

12. Have a backup plan

If it is an event for 40 people you need to be prepared for any emergency from technical problems such as a slow Sprint Mural board template, explained in Salla’s article, to anything else that may arise. Use your imagination by asking yourself “what if” questions and prepare for it in advance. The more you have rethought, the better your Sprints will be. The rest is having a great team to enjoy your Sprint roller coaster ride.

Last but not least – have fun with the right team

We had the right team to take and really enjoy these multiple remote design sprint roller coaster rides and I would like to thank Salla Kuuluvainen, Heini Heinonen, Michelle Sahal Estime, Hanna Lumenkoski, Henriikka Tikka, Pirjo Valpas and Teemu Ruohonen, Päivi Mantere and Merja Lahdenperä without whom this couldn’t be successful. I have learned a lot from this program co-designing and facilitation experience. Thank you!

If you are interested in how remote sprints work in comparison to offline sprints, we have some interesting data to share.

The Digital Wellbeing Sprint has been organised by 3AMK – Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia Universities of Applied Sciences for the first time fully remotely this year due to the pandemic. Only two out of 40 participants strongly thought that the offline environment is much more suitable for a Sprint. It is most probably related to the participant’s experience with Mural as a similar amount didn’t enjoy working on Mural due to its slowness. The Mural team promised to make some improvements in the near future, so this may no longer be an issue. Despite the issues with Mural, 7 groups delivered solutions which were highly appreciated by companies who claimed to implement them in the nearest future.  

Stay tuned for upcoming events.

About the author:

Cecylia Kundera is a digital project leader and a service designer helping companies to design and deliver real value. She is especially fond of implementing a foresight approach and holistic mindset in design, because the Earth is not only for human beings. 

Ready to get in touch with you if you have any questions.

Design Sprint Method Package

“Design Sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with final users and customers; basically, a way to solve design problems quickly.”

Source: https://medium.com/productmanagement101/design-sprints-at-google-85ff62fed5f8

Sourche: http://www.uxforthemasses.com/ucd-design-sprints/
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 63-66.
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 63-66.
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 107-115.
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 127-140.
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 148-158.
Sourche: Knapp Jake, Zeratsky John and Kowitz Braden. 2016. Sprint – How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Bantam Press. London, UK. Pages 183-190.
Sourche: https://designsprintkit.withgoogle.com/methodology/phase1-understand/user-journey-mapping
Sourche: http://www.lab8.fi/tool-factory/creation-prototyping-testing/business-model-canvas/
Sourche: https://designsprintkit.withgoogle.com/methodology/phase6-validate

Writer: Tytti Vaateri, DWS Tutor

The Feedback from companies

Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2019 was very successful. Read below the experiences of the companies.

Jussi Suolammi, CSE -Entertainment

CSE Entertainment’s goal was to find a variety of marketing tools

The first group created a good foundation from the point of view of well-being at work, the second group introduces a highly thought-out application that will certainly be implemented in the future.

Both solutions supported the sales and marketing of walls.

From the Digital Wellbeing Sprint we got ideas to develop our business and thinking out of the box. A Very positive experience we can warmly recommend!

– Jussi Suomilammi, CSE -Entertainment

Jukka Salonen, Hublet

Our company has received very important and interesting development ideas that will surely be utilized in the near future. Students were motivated and hardworking. The quality of results and work exceeded expectations!

– Jukka Salonen, Hublet

The goals come to fruition excellently and the DWS was positive for the company. We received clear and feasible suggestions that will help us take advantage of future measures. It was very profitable to be part of Digital Wellbeing Sprint.

– Sakari Soini, Disior


DWS, Day 6: Finale

Today is the big day. This year Sprint pitch deck took place at Helsinki central library, Oodi.

We gathered at 9 am Oodi. Student teams arrived very early at the place and were busy with their last preparations. Every team had their own show table where they can display their prototypes. After tables were ready to exhibit, students had a chance to go around each table to check out other teams work. Every team looked super confident. Ready to go!

You are a already winner 
Pitch deck officially opened at 10 am with all the company representatives presented.  Then there came the opening words by Sprint manager Maija and tutor Yaju. Very well said in the openning words that this was not about winning but all about learning. I totally agree! We have all witnessed how much this Sprint has offered to us: opportunities, challenges, team spirit, knowledge, skills, attitudes, and of course learning. Til this very last day of DWS 2019, the students kept their spirit going. 

Pitching
After the openning words, pitching started one group after another. All 9 groups gave their pitches. They pitched really like pros. If you are interested to know more about their pitches, please make sure that you come to check out DWS Facebook page where you will find all the videos. 

Pitching went smoothly. After all the pitches, everyone got to vote for their favourite pitch via the voting questionare created in Google Forms. 

Awards
The winner fell onto the group of CSE after a fair voting process. A price was given to each student of the winner group and a DWS 2019 certificate for the rest of the students. 
There were cheers and of course also tears. To those teams who felt deeply disappointed because they did not the win the price, we would like to say that courage and embrace are your strength. This is not final. This is just a new beginning. 

”Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Writer: Lin Lamnaouer, DWS Tutor

DWS 2019

DWS Day 5: Pitch Deck

Today’s event was held at IBM Watson Health Center
Miikka Kiiski from IBM gave us a deep insight of population aging climate in Finland. According to Miikka, Finland is facing a serious population aging in the near future among other nations. How to solve this problem is a rather huge and abstract. Thankfully, Miikka has helped us to break this problem down into a few perspectives. Understanding the healthcare trends helps to clear the obstacles towards the key to the solutions. 

Miikka Kiiski, Watson Health Center

The healthcare trends
The trends are, for example, concept of personal healthcare is rising. Citizens will be expected to hold bigger responsibilities to their own health. Health related recommendations and nutrition will be more personalized. There will be deeper inspection between prevention clinical work and research activities. Other trends are the increase use of AI and advanced data base, increase effectiveness of the existing drugs and therapies, development of new medicines and therapies, and so on. Knowing the trends is just a starting point, however, where you lay your action points determines the direction of your solutions.

 Holistic view of health care
What has left me the most impression was the value driven health care models. To build a holistic healthcare based on these models is one of the major pieces in the big picture. Keywords: the risk groups, interventions at the right time, out of pocket payment align with public funding. 

Suvi Lehtonen, LaureaES – Laurea Entrepreneurship Society ry

Pitching like you own it
Suvi Lehtonen shared with us how to become a pitching expert. First of all, it is necessary to know what pitching is really about and how a good structure of a pitch looks like. Then, by applying the right techniques to your pitching, you are almost there to catch your angel investors. 

There are the techniques that are very useful to a successful pitching throughout the whole preparing process. For example, a great tagline to your solution leaves an initial impression to the audience. Some good-to-knows are always handy. Do you know that the investors do not buy your idea but are more interested in how your idea is valuable to them? In another word, showing in concrate how your idea is going to genarate profit will most likely to get investors remember your pitch. At the end of your pitch, giving a perfect portrait photo of yourself or the team with clear contact information will make it easier to investors to contact you.

Last but not the least, pay attention to copyright of any pictures that you are going to use for your pitching. Should not you forget to practice, practice, practice and sleep enough. Ok. I know there are jus so many things to bear in mind. In case you ever dream to be an expert in pitching, make sure that you check out the events and activities organized by LAUREAES via their facebook page.

Now, time to work on real pitches. Good luck teams!

See you tomorrow. 

Writer: Lin Lamnaouer, DWS Tutor

DWS, Day 4: Bootcamp

The second day of boot camp took place at we+ as well. 
With a fresh piece of mind, we started the day right away with unique value proposition workshop hosted by tutor Heini and I. The tool we chose for this workshop was unique value proposition canvas. There are numerous reasons why this is such an important workshop. Unique value proposition canvas canvas is derived from famous lean canvas. There is no other better tool than unique value proposition canvas if you want to validate your business ideas or service design ideas. This tool allows you to examine how well you understand your customer and how good your products really are. 

After the first workshop of the day, we welcomed out first speaker from Pistachio Consulting to share with us how they have discovered the true values of their target customer segments and how they have successfully delivered their customer values. 

Markus Vihottula, LullaMe

The second speaker Markus Vihottula from LullaMe demonstrated their innovative product and how their journey towards a success from prototyping, learning and relearning about their customers,  remodelling their product, etc. Til today, LullaMe is still studying their customers from different countries of origin and different cultural background so that their product can go beyond country boarder lines. 

Afternoon programme aimed to assist the student teams with their ongoing prototyping progress. As a continuation of the morning workshop, tutor Anjan shortly introduced to the teams some tools to use during service design, such as lean canvas and customer journey map. Afterwards, a short introduction about prototyping was given. Then, as a close-up, we adopt service blueprint in prototying workshop as a result of solution demonstration. 

While all the teams are working on their prototyping, tutors interviewed each team to gain insights of their working process. Here we tutors would like to give our all appreciation to the students for their both positive and negative responses, as well as for their hard work. We tutors have learned so much through working with the students. All of us have made this Sprint possible.

Writer: Lin Lamnaouer, DWS Tutor

DWS, Day 3: Bootcamp

Our third DWS 2019 took place at the charming We+ premisses, located it the popular cultural center Kaapelitehdas, in the Helsinki district of Ruoholahti.

The agenda for this inspiring Friday was a Boot Camp where Unique Value Proposition and Prototyping were the goals of the day.

We started the morning with a reflection and a discussion on Sprint 2, where groups could share their ideas, their findings, talk about the identified problems, possible solutions, and if they considered themselves on the right path for solving the case they are working on. This critical reflection and possibility to get feedback from the other groups and colleagues was very enriching.

Then lectures began.

Toni Pienonen, We+

First speaker of the day, Toni Pienonen from We+, introduced the idea of the business community the company has established as its mission. He talked about innovation and new ways of working; how outdated the corporate style is becoming, and how fruitful and out of the box working styles led by entrepreneurship and community leadership are becoming. How powerful networks created in this kind of environment can be was main message from Pienonen.

He also prepared an exercise where our attendants had to sketch the initial solution idea for their case problem, highlighting the core idea in one sentence and in a visual way; a type of exercise which has all to do with a sprint. Great practice!

Pienonen´s lecture was filmed so it can be watched in our official Facebook page.

Johan Wirta, Nomo

Second speaker: Johan Wirta, the CEO of Nomo technologies. Nomo developed a toolkit for application developers with a patented measure method. The intention is to solve the problem of an accurate measuring method, that could be used for people at home, in order to make it easier and minimize the troubles of wrong sizing in online clothing purchases. It was very nice to hear from an experienced entrepreneur how he chose his path towards the online industry of clothing, and the whole process of finding a solution which solves problems either for the consumer and the businesses.

Aviv Ben-Yehuda, Big Ear Games

Then it was time to have fun and feel inspired by our third speaker, Israeli/Finnish game developer Aviv Ben-Yehuda, CEO and founder of Big Ear Games, an app which allows you to make music while playing and having fun, in a simple way, friendly to every one. He talked about the importance of prototyping and testing ideas as early as possible since this is the best way to get honest feedback from the consumer, and find out if you should or not invest in that. According to him, this validation is the breakthrough of every idea and will allow you to find if you really have a value. The importance of networking, of listening to advisors and talking to investors was also mentioned as well as how much you can win from internships and volunteer work, even if for a while you accept to it without a salary. During our learning process, the most important thing should be the learning opportunities and how real they are.

Fourth speaker of the day: Thorbjorn Warin from Windoora. He gave several important advices talking about the future of business and the path his company has chosen to trail. The increasing importance of data for any business which needs to deal with media at any point is the most important thing to develop and pay attention to.

After these 4 inspiring presentations where we could listen to experiences coming from outstanding entrepreneurs with a lot to share and say, we started our workshop on Futures Thinking. Time to burn our brains a bit – but in a good way, of course – practicing the process of thinking about possible futures using megatrends, and the concept of utopia and dystopia. Using our creativity, our knowledge, our hopes, and, why not, a bit of our fears, we created headlines on chosen megatrends for “news from the future”: an utopia and a dystopia, since one of the most important part of finding solutions, is also to consider what could go wrong even if everything seems to go well.

And that was it! Now there’s a lot to think about and get ready for the next Boot Camp.

Writer: Maila-Kaarina Rantanen

DWS, Day 2: Futures of digital wellbeing

The second day of DWS 2019 started at 9 at Terkko Health Hub on 10th of May. This was a very special day as many keynote speakers joined us and gave us inspirational speeches. 

As an opening of the Sprint day 2, tutor Tytti guided the students to have a deep reflection on what they have learned from the first round of the Sprint. It seemed that most of the students had had their tasks on check. I personally thought this reflection was a brilliant idea and I do hope the students found it essential as well, as the next round of Sprint starts today. 

After reflection, Tuukka Vartiainen from IBM talked about their progress and development on artificial intelligence. During his talk, Watson was introduced to the audience. Watson is a question-answering computer system trained by data. Watson can do many cool things already. For example, not only is Watson able to distinguish different testicles and tell the colours based on pictures, but can also roughly profile a person just by scanning a facial imagine. According to Tuukka, they are currently training Watson to have higher performance, such as speech recognition, facial recognition, text recognition, and so on. At present, Watson is at work assisting productions and services in a wide range of business as well as in hospitals supporting health care. When comes to the future, how fascinating it is to even imagine that artificial intelligence will be widely integrated into one’s daily life. 

Tuukka Vartiainen, IBM

After Tuukka Vartiainen, we warmly welcomed Mikko Dufva from Sitra to take everyone on a journey of teleporting to the uncertain futures. Yes, you read it right. Futures. Future holds many possibilities and is full of uncertainties. 

Besides speakers from IBM and Sitra, we also had Sanna Huttunen from Helsinki Oodi library telling us about their ongoing robot project, and Anjariitta Savolainen from Caleidocons sharing with us how their journey of implementing artificial intelligent in coaching.

The rest of the day was programmed to Sprint idea validations. The representatives from the partner companies sat down with the students to discuss further about the progress so far. 

At last, let us not to forget the importance of evidence-based research in service design process. Thank the librarians from Laurea UAS for sharing with us the best ways and tools to do background information research. 

Writer: Lin Lamnaouer, DWS Tutor

DWS, Day 1: Kickoff

Digital wellbeing sprint 2019 finally kicked off on 6.5.2019. It was really exciting to us -the tutors- to meet all the stakeholders as well as the students. Our tutor team’s role was to give assistance to the students and to make sure the day goes smoothly and accordingly. 

The first DWS day started with reception. This year, there are in total 6 companies and 32 students pacitipated in DWS. They are divided into groups according to their choices of companies. Worthy to mention that this is a group of students who are from various background and working fields. There are many students from business information technology and digital technology field, and a few from health care and services related sectors among many other experts.  

Starting with a short introduction of the project management team, the morning carried on to a brief introduction of the Sprint regarding to the timetable, workflow, expected outcome, etc. Afterwards, a mind-opening speach packed with practical and useful knowledge about service design and innovative thinking was given by Mikko from Futurice. Bearing the design thinking in mind, the students were given a Sprint workshop to warm up. Thoroughly prepared by tutors Maila and Tytti, the warm-up workshop went very well. The step-by-step instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Thanks to the workshop, most of the students were familiar with concept of a Sprint by the end of this morning. 

Team working

Morning was filled with excitement but, behold, the real challenges were awaiting.  After lunch, stakeholders arrived and presented their challenges to the audience. At last, the students were able to sit down with our stakeholders and discuss further in details about the challenges. 

The day slowly closed up, yet the real Sprint just got started. To tutors, day one has been accompanied; well, to the students, it was just the tip of a ice-burg. We tutors do hope that students would find today as a smooth transition to the starting point of this race. 

To be continued.  

Writer: Lin Lamnaouer, DWS Tutor

Getting ready for Digital Wellbeing Sprint

One of our facilitators Heini Heinonen interviewed our first keynote speaker Mikko Kutvonen from Futurice. Read below what Mikko has to say to all our teams. Mikko started his career as a graphic designer and his current role is Service design lead where he has responsibility of all the areas of the service design in consulting projects he’s part of. Meanwhile he also works as a business consultant and lectures in summer universities mainly about design leadership. 

Topic of his keynote is “Design Thinking”. During the interview we discussed on how he would describe design thinking, service design and what would he do first if participating sprint like this?

From Design Thinking to Service Design Toolkit

Our discussion started with defining the service design and design thinking. What we are actually talking about, when we talk service design?  Service design is something concrete, which means turning ideas into concepts and prototypes as soon as possible and validating them with end users. It’s also important to find problems worth solving by engaging actual end users by going where our users are instead of doing a lot of planning in meeting rooms. It’s crucial to jump into users shoes when we are designing, he summarizes.

His keynote topic is design thinking, which he describes to be more like management paradigma on a sense that you are able to lead the organization and manage the innovation by putting the customer into centre and combining customers, technology and business. In his work, he has seen how many companies have understood that putting design mindset into the middle of product design and business strategy has actually given a measurable results for companies. 

Design thinking is more like umbrella term for innovation or business development and service design is hands-on way to methodologies, skills and ways of working. Service design is a user-centric way to approach the problem and to come out with a new novel solution. Prototyping is a core element, turning ideas into concrete and validate them with the end users. “Constantly iterating the ideas you are working with”, he summarizes.

In the Core of Design Sprint

During the DWS, our teams have six intensive days and during those days they have time to validate their ideas. At the end of the sprint, teams will choose their best idea and pitch that to our judges.  Since our Digital Wellbeing Sprint is based on design sprint principles originally developed by Google, we were curious to know how Mikko would define design sprint. And when and why he would use design sprint. He tells that he basically applies design sprint to almost all of his cases. The reason for this is that the sprint ideology helps to minimize the risks and uncertainty. The main idea is to come out with concrete outputs quite rapidly. He continues that sprint as such helps organizations to speed up the development and helps them to step a little bit out of the comfort zone. This applies especially to the legacy organizations which are not used to include users to their design process. It is easy to spend months and months without actual outcome and in the sprint you are aiming to come out first with low level prototype or paper mock-up and validate that in few days.

In order to succeed with the design process, you first need to evaluate the problem with real users and if you have a problem in hand, then start to evaluate the actual concept. Evaluation can be done for example by interviewing users (for example 6-12 users is enough), observing them while they use the service or fill out internet surveys. During the sprint you need to facilitate the sprint process well, communicate all the time what’s coming next, engage the stakeholders and map what are your initial ideas about the outcome. This is also the benefit of the design sprint, where you can concretize the development quite fast and you are able to show something concrete instead of very high level conceptual thinking. 

Are There Some Tips for the Teams?

At Digital Wellbeing Sprint we have several  multidisciplinary and multicultural teams innovating future services for healthcare and wellbeing service providers for real life challenges. As many of our participants might want to hear more about where to get started and what Mikko himself would do if he would participate in a design sprint? Here are some good tips for the teams.

Search all possible online material about the company 

Firstly it is important to find out what we know so far about the company, what’s their status, their segments, all the facts you can find online. Internet is full of information so do your homework before the sprint.

Ask your client company as much background information as you can 

When your partner company nominates the challenge, just go and ask what kind of information they already have, ask pure facts and figures they already have about the issue at hand. After this you are actually able to bring new value for the case. It would be very sad if you after a week of work would provide observations that they already know. As we are living in a data-driven economy, companies have a huge amount of data about the customers and customer experience. That’s why you really should hunt for that information they already have. One way of doing this would be investigating their social media pages and seeing their interaction with clients. Of course, some of those would be a part of PR campaign conducted by The Marketing Heaven or company alike, but you should be able to see through that. Then, start building your storyline based on you gathered. Then you are able to build some reliable outcome. Also, with this data you are able to narrow down your challenge quite well. 

Choose a leader for the team

One very important thing is to choose a leader or facilitator for the team because during the sprint you need to reach certain milestones.  It is important that teams will choose a leader for the group who takes care of deadlines and that everything what the team has planned is also executed during and in-between the sprint days.

Don’t spend too much time on planning

Start sketching possible solutions from day one. Sketching means paper and pencil. Don’t think you can’t draw, because we all can. Key thing is to visualize your initial ideas from the beginning!

Lastly Mikko would like to say for all the teams that

“remember that design sprint is a learning journey and we should have fun, so let’s keep up the positive vibes!”