Design Sprints.

Design Sprints are co-creation workshops that we use at Mäd to help us and our clients create effective solutions to business problems in record time.

We will cover the why, how, and what of a design sprint, and the special twists that we put on it to ensure that they are effective, insightful, and fun! We've run design sprints for companies off all sizes and industries, from a two-person app startup who are just getting started to a multinational 100+ year-old law firm that wants to know what's coming next.

Design Sprints originate from Google's ventures capital arm called Google Ventures, that invests in a variety of startups across the world. However, the found that in the companies that they invested in, getting consensus and moving fast was often a problem. So, they started to iterate on different ways of working, and eventually came up with the Design Sprint framework.

Why Design Sprints?

The reason for doing Design Sprints is simple:

Design Sprints ensure that we build better products, faster.

Typically, to learn more about a particular product or solution for a business problem, the iteration process is:

  1. Idea. You have an idea for a new product, feature, service, or improvement to a business process.
  2. Build. You go and build on this idea and create something that's working and usable for real people.
  3. Launch. You launch this idea to the market and hope that people will use it.
  4. Learn. If your idea is successful and people use it, you observe them using it and gain insights into how you can improve and iterate on your idea.

While this isn't a terrible process, the problem is that it can take a really long time (and lots of money!) to actually learn what you should be focussing on.

At its core, a design sprint takes you as quickly as possible from that "aha" moment, the idea, to actually learning about how it could work with real human beings, in a matter of days. The following image gives you a clear understanding of the shortcut that an effective Design Sprint looks to take.

The core concept behind a Design Sprint.

How Design Sprints Work.

Overview of a Design Sprint.

While each Design Sprint is custom tailored for each client, there are many aspects that are the same across each one:

  • Long Term Goal Setting. Discussing and understanding the long term goals for both the organisation and the project, and how these fit together coherently.
  • Challenges to the Goals. Reviewing and discussing what are the major obstacles to the long term goals.
  • Expert Interviews. Interviews with key stakeholders on the client side to deepen our understanding of the required outcomes of the project.
  • User Journeys. Reviewing the existing key personas that will use the new website, and building their journeys based on the needs they are trying to fulfil and the objectives of Why Innovation.
  • Lightning Demos. Each member in the Design Sprint will find examples that they like around the internet and present on the key ideas and why they chose those examples, and how they might be applicable to the current project.
  • Solution Sketching. Based on the challenges to the goals for the project, everyone works, by themselves, to sketch out key solutions. These are then presented, discussed, and voted on by each member. The key stakeholder on the client side will receive additional voting powers in case of a deadlock.
  • Prototype Building. From the Solution Sketching, the design team build a prototype that uses the most
  • Usability Testing. We run test with real world potential users to gather their feedback. This is so important, it has its own dedicated
  • Reporting. Once the tests are complete, it's important that we organize the key insights and data in an easy to digest format for everyone to take a look at.

Take Frequent NAPS.

Unfortunately, we're not talking about sleeping during the Design Sprint ;)

NAPS stands for:

  • No Judgement. Write additional content here.
  • All Ideas Are Valuable. Write additional content here.
  • Piggy Back. Write additional content here.
  • Silly Crazy. Write additional content here.

A Few Key Concepts.

  • Working Alone, Together. Write additional content here.
  • Note and Vote. Write additional content here.

Design Sprint Sessions Explained.

Long Term Goal Setting.

Challenges To The Goals.

Expert Interviews

User Journeys.

Lightning Demos.

Solution Sketching.

Prototype Building.

Usability Testing.


The Design Sprint Team.

Not sure where this section goes.

  • Maximum 7
  • Decision Maker
  • Facilitator
  • Cross Functional
  • Expert Interviews (can bring outside people)

Sample Mäd Design Sprint Schedule.

While the original Google Ventures Design Sprint requires the entire team to participate for five full days, we've made some adjustments to the scheduling based on our client feedback.

The Mäd design sprint requires our clients to work with us for two full days, and the remaining three days are completed either in-house building the prototype or in the field testing it. We find that this gives the optimum balance between client participation and also ensuring that our clients can still manage their usual day to day job responsibilities.

[Add graphic of a weekly calendar with the various sessions]


  • Mäd Design Sprint Rules.
  • Design Sprint FAQ.
  • Google Ventures Design Sprint Overview Video.

Notes for This Page.

  • Show one mad staff member holding sprint book
  • Create image of usual way of working vs design sprint day (same as book)
  • Sample Schedule for Mäd Sprint
  • Make cut the long explanation of the design sprint sessions and turn each one into an insight piece and link on both resources and on the overview part. Feels that it will keep this page to under 1,000 words.
Emanuele Faja

Emanuele Faja

CEO at Mäd. Emanuele brings on board a passion for minimalist Italian design and a 21st-century management approach. He consistently helps clients create and maintain market leader positions.

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Design Sprints.
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