How to keep innovating in COVID crisis (even without a big budget!)

Sprinting is all the rage at the moment. And we’re not talking about putting on your sneakers and going for a run in your local park (although exercise is up 88% during COVID).

We are talking about the design sprint process; A design method in which you gather a dedicated team to dive deeper into a specific challenge in your product offering, come up with creative solutions, user test these solutions, and finish with a user-tested prototype. All in 4 days, because that’s what makes it a sprint.

The method was originated by Google back in 2010, gained world-wide attention through Jake Knapp’s book “Sprint” and has been adopted by in-house design and innovation teams’ agencies alike.  Although the sprint was designed to be an in-person process, we have seen a big rise in remote sprints during lock-down times along with the use of virtual white boarding tools taking off in organisations.

But why is the ‘sprint’ process so well suited for the times we live in?


1. You can test your riskiest ideas

Difficult times bring conservative mindsets. Recent turmoil has meant that many teams are thinking about only the challenges right in front of them, missing out of the opportunities that are less obvious. For some it may be a question of survival, but for others this may actually the moment for them expand into new territories and innovating in times of rapid change is the best way to keep your product offering relevant. The sprint process allows you to create something new and de-risk it at the same time. Instead of creating a dedicated project team and allocating a considerable budget and resources, the sprint process brings together the best of design thinking and agile techniques resulting in a user-tested prototype after 4 days, making pivoting way cheaper.

2. You will drive virtual collaboration (and engagement) in your team

With teams all over the world figuring out ways to continue their daily practices, a new way of collaborating is taking shape. Using tools such as Mural / Miro, the design process (including effective brainstorming, synthesising and prototyping sessions) can be run in a fraction of the time. Where in-person sprints require teams to block out 4 full consecutive days, now key stakeholders can drop in and out of Zoom meetings depending on their calendars, and be called into decision making moments within minutes. Embracing these digital tools will not only fast-track your innovation process, but uplift virtual collaboration capabilities within your team.


3. You will jump to opportunities

It’s safe to say that there is no lack of challenges currently, so we can all use a little help seeing the opportunities that lie within them. That brings us to the last reason this is the perfect time to embrace the sprint process. Sprints fundamentally are about identifying challenges, and turning them into opportunities at a rapid pace.

So, an agile process that allows you to jump to opportunities and using the power of virtual collaboration? Sounds like a home-run. And with the time you save when sprinting you might end up going for that run in your local park after all.

Want to know more about the sprint process and try your hand at running one yourself? Get in touch!

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