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How to solve big problems and test new ideas in 5 days with a Google Design Sprint

How to solve big problems and test new ideas in 5 days with a Google Design Sprint

The Google Design Sprint is the latest thinking in tackling a customer experience or fundraising challenge.

It’s a unique 3-5 day process invented by the team at Google Ventures (GV) to solve tough problems or evolve an idea within a short space of time – within 3-5 days!

What can it be used for?

We’ve run a number of sprints now for charities – they can be used for things like a new fundraising product idea, a new mass participation event, a new digital product for service delivery, a new campaign, or a revamp of an existing product or website.

What is a Design Sprint?

A design sprint is a five-phase framework that takes place over a 3 to 5 day period that helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing. Sprints let your team reach clearly defined goals and deliverables and gain key learnings, quickly. The process helps spark innovation, encourage user-centred thinking, align your team under a shared vision, and get you to product launch faster.

Here’s a short 90 second video to explain by Jake Knapp – Design partner at Google Ventures and inventor of the Design Sprint.



Phases within the Sprint

The Google Design Sprint is organised into five phases: Map, Sketch, Decide, Prototype, and Test. The process does not change regardless of the whether you do a 3 or 5 day Sprint, just the amount of time allocated to each phase is changed.

Google Design Sprint stages

The stages in a Google Design Sprint

What are the benefits?

• Speed – within 3-5 days you’ll move from idea to prototype to user testing & decision.

• Cost – save countless hours of time from too many internal meetings. Save money with reducing the time needed with an agency to define & design the solution. No endless rounds of iterations over several weeks!

• Stakeholder engagement – the key stakeholders are part of the Sprint and therefore co-defining the output. This reduces time and increases engagement. The follow up business case is then easier to get signed off!

Further information and reading

Please do get in touch with me if you’d like to know more about how a Sprint might work for your fundraising idea. We have run and contributed to a number of Sprints now to define new fundraising products, websites or digital products for charities.

We also run Sprint overview workshops so we would be happy to invite you to a future workshop. They are free for charities to attend. Just email us.

A good resource for running sprints.

Jake Knapp also wrote a book called Sprint.


Vicky Reeves is director of Addition, the digital division of digital and direct fundraising agency WPN Chameleon.


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