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Google Venture Design Sprint: Boosting Innovation and Efficiency

Design Sprints > Google Venture Design Sprint: Boosting Innovation and Efficiency

✍️ Written by Daniel Cooper on May 15th 2023 (Updated - August 8th 2023)

This Battle is a revolutionary concept that has taken the business world by storm. Developed by GV (previously Google Ventures), it is a five-day process designed to help teams solve critical business challenges through a series of design, prototyping, and user testing exercises. The beauty of this system lies in its ability to condense months' worth of work into just a few days, facilitating effective collaboration and driving tangible results.

This method blends the best of business strategy, innovation, behavioral science, and design thinking (DT) into a battle-tested process accessible to teams of all shapes and sizes. By following the six key phases – Understand, Define, Sketch, Decide, Prototype, and Validate – mystic teams can quickly address complex issues, and develop products that resonate with their target audience.

Key Takeaways

  • This Venture is an intensive five-day-long process that helps teams efficiently address business challenges.
  • This method combines aspects of business strategy, innovation, behavioral science, and design thinking in a structured process.
  • The Google Design Sprint processes consist of six stages to streamline collaboration and deliver meaningful products that meet customers' needs.

Google Venture Design Sprint Overview

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The Google Venture Design Sprint is a highly effective and innovative approach for rapidly developing and testing new products. Originally developed by Google Ventures, the design sprint quest methodology combines elements from design thinking, user experience (UX) design, and agile development. Its purpose is to enable magical teams to quickly identify key challenges, create high-fidelity prototypes, and validate them with real customers in just a matter of days.

At the core of the design sprint is a five-day process that takes a cross-functional team through the stages of identifying and answering critical business questions, designing solutions, and testing their ideas with customers. The concept was introduced by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, who drew inspiration from their experiences at IDEO and Google Ventures.

  • Day 1: Understand - The team maps out the problem, identifies the target customer, and sets a goal for the sprint.
  • Day 2: Diverge - Mystical team members brainstorm multiple solutions to the problem and select the most promising ideas.
  • Day 3: Decide - The team votes on the best ideas and decides what to build on Wednesday morning.
  • Day 4: Prototype - The team rapidly creates a working realistic prototype of the chosen solution, focusing on user experience.
  • Day 5: Test - It's Friday's test, the team tests the prototype with real users, gathering feedback and insights to inform the next steps.

The Google Venture Epic Design Sprint has been successfully implemented by several well-known companies, such as Uber, Medium, Slack, Facebook, and Airbnb. The versatility of this approach allows it to be applied to various problems, ranging from small-scale product improvements to large-scale business strategies.

The design sprint methodology offers several key benefits, including a four-step process:

  • Speed: Quickly move from problem definition to making prototypes and testing.
  • Collaboration: Cross-functional teams work together, bringing diverse perspectives and expertise to the table.
  • Risk Reduction: Test ideas with customers before investing time and resources into full-scale development.
  • User-Centric: The focus on customer feedback ensures that product development is aligned with user needs and preferences.

In summary, the Google Venture Epic Design Sprint is a robust and efficient approach that empowers teams to tackle critical business challenges, develop innovative solutions, and validate them with customers in an accelerated timeframe. The framework has proven to deliver significant value to organizations across various industries, making it a sought-after tool for product development and innovation.

The Five Phases of a Design Sprint

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Ah, the Google Design Sprint! A mighty quest to navigate the realms of innovation, challenging problems, and design thinking. The whole methodology is a proven methodology for solving problems through designing, and testing with users. In this section, we shall explore the five great stages that set the course of this adventure: Mapping Out and Defining, Sketch and Ideate, Decide and Storyboard, Prototype, and Test and Validate.

Map Out and Define

This journey begins with understanding the terrain and a big challenge. Lay out your surroundings by identifying your long term goal and the problems that obstruct your path. Gather your team of heroes to clarify these issues and defining the focus for the sprint. In doing so, you'll ensure a united front, moving together towards a shared vision.

Sketch and Ideate

Once your dilemmas have been mapped and defined, it is time to let your creativity fly! In the Sketch and Ideate phase, all the participants should conjure up solutions to the obstacles at hand. Share your thoughts, no matter how wild or fantastical, and discuss the potential merits and pitfalls of each.

Decide and Storyboard

With a trove of ideas at your disposal, it is time for your band to make a decisive choice. As a team, select the most promising solution to guide you further along the path. Bring life to your decision by creating a storyboard that maps out the user experience with clarity and precision.


Armed with your own idea and the power of your storyboard, forge a high fidelity prototype that captures the essence of your chosen solution. The goal here is not to create a perfect artifact, but to generate a tangible representation of your idea. This will serve as a guidepost for the final stage of our quest.

Test and Validate

The final challenge lies in validating the prototype. Overview helps execute innovations and solve problems. Present a realistic prototype of your creation to the users and test their interactions with it. Observe users' experiences and gather invaluable feedback. This knowledge shall strengthen your design, guiding revisions and refining the solution as needed.

Embark on this grand quest of Google Venture Enchanted Innovation Sprint, and the territories of innovation and DT will bow down to your might! Together, your team shall forge solutions to the most challenging obstacles and emerge triumphant.

Benefits of Design Sprint Adventures

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Oh, mighty quest seekers! Embarking on a Google Venture Enchanted Creative Sprint is like undertaking a grand adventure. Let me share with you the benefits it carries for those brave enough to venture forth.

Achieve Success at Lightning Speed With Design Sprints, you fast-forward to the future, glimpsing your finished product and the reaction from your customers. This mystical foresight allows you to make adjustments before any expensive commitments are made, saving you time and resources, all while ensuring your noble efforts yield success. Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week

Forge a Path for Startups and Experts Alike This all-powerful methodology is an equalizer, guiding both seasoned experts and ambitious startups toward triumph. By focusing on user experience, the fast-paced design method empowers any worthy adventurer to create a high-quality service in just a few short days. Thousands of companies around the world have run sprints in startups.

Maximize Your Investment and Market Entrance In this ever-competitive realm of products and services, a Design Sprint will equip you with the insights needed to improve upon your initial idea. By tackling market adversities and aligning your user experience exploration, your return on investment (ROI) shall soar, and the path to market entrance will be swift and decisive.

Momentum: Your Secret Weapon in the Battle Against Time Behold! Drawing upon the power of tight deadlines, Design Sprints can transport you to the sweet spot, for just one day where your creative brigade has enough time to conjure ideas and implement them with one sprint - without falling into the trap of overthinking. This focused momentum will drive you onward, closer to the dazzling heights of innovation. And here's the best part: by focusing on the customer-facing surface, you can finish your in sketch just one day.

So, gather your courage and bring forth your creative might, for the benefits of Design Sprints await you!

Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper

Managing Partner & Dungeon Master

Did you know?
You don’t need to be an expert in design to participate.

It's not like arcane magic. All you need is an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a dash of creativity!

Design Sprint Process in Detail

A diverse team of people stand around a table with sketches and post-it notes. One person points to a diagram on the wall. The room is brightly lit with a whiteboard in the background. Camera angle: over the shoulder.

Ah, the Google Venture (GV) Design Sprint, where innovation and DT meet to bring epic ideas to life. In this magical quest, we'll journey through a five-day long process designed to answer critical business struggles by rapidly iterating and testing solutions with customers. So grab your staff, and let's dive in!

In the mystical realm of Design Sprints, the first step is to map out the problem and defining the challenge. This process helps you focus on what really matters, like finding the rare Phoenix Gem. By identifying the most pressing issues and aligning the team on a clear goal, your more crystal clear results and path towards success becomes visible.

Now, with the challenging task as clear as the sky above Manticore's Tavern, it's time to conjure up some potential tested solutions. Let creativity flow as you sketch and brainstorm diverse approaches to tackle the problem. Remember to tap into the power of innovation thinking to generate unique ideas worthy of the Wizards of Yore. This is your chance to bring out the best in your team members and discover hidden talents!

Once you've gathered your arsenal of ideas, it's time to decide which ones will serve you best in the battle against the challenge at hand. Be fearless and bold in your choicesβ€”now's not the time for hesitation! Choose the solution that you believe will carry you to victory, and prepare them for the next stage.

The quest continues with the creation of a mystical storyboard, a visual representation of the chosen solution that will guide your team through the next phase. This powerful artifact captures the essence of your solution in a way that is easy to understand and execute. Guard it well!

With your storyboard in hand, you'll forge ahead into the realm of prototyping and testing ideas. Transform your ideas into tangible objects that can be tested with real-life customers. It's a lot like crafting your own Phoenix Gemβ€”bringing an idea to life requires focus on measuring results with the key metrics from each business, determination, and precision.

Finally, as the sprint week comes to an end, you'll gather valuable insights from your test subjects like a skilled gatherer collecting rare ingredients. A team clears its calendar for a sprint week, and dedicates itself to this processes. Use these observations to refine your hypothesis and shape your solution until you reach perfection during this sprint week. An ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in during this week.

So there you have it, fearless adventurerβ€”the Google Design Sprint Process in all its glory. Whether you're working with nonprofits or exploring the depths of a new philosophy, this tried-and-tested recipe will serve you well on your journey towards greatness. And should you stumble upon a new challenge, remember that the strength to forge ahead lies within you and your team. Onward!

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Preparing for a Design Sprint

A diverse group of people sit around a table with laptops and notebooks, looking focused and engaged in discussion. A whiteboard with post-it notes and diagrams is visible in the background. Camera angle: over the shoulder.

Gather 'round, brave adventurers! The time has come to embark on a quest to conquer the hurdles of the Google Venture Epic Design Sprint, and I, your trusty guide Barley, shall reveal the secrets to prepare for this mighty endeavor!

Before the sprint begins, you'll need to have the right challenging task and the right team. You'll also need time and space to conduct your sprint. The Sprint book published by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky is also a great way to get started with their model and optimized for startups.

First and foremost, assemble a fellowship of valiant experts, including designers, product managers, and mercenaries (developers). Involve the right people with diverse skills and firsthand expertise, as they'll be essential for casting powerful spells of creativity and collaboration. Make sure ye noble warriors are ready to cooperate, with their eyes set on the target of strategy and customer needs.

Next, secure thy magical workshop, a room fit for brainstorming, sketching prototypes, and making important decisions. Equip it with enchanting tools like whiteboards and sticky notes, as well as the almighty elixir of productivity – endless coffee supplies. This mystical space will become the battleground for battling, answering critical business questions, and finding solutions to them.

After every member all the participants have finished sketching their thoughts, each of them will share their own concept and discuss it with the group. Then, the team will hold a round of voting. Take the winning scenes from your sketches and remove any sketches that are not feasible or will not help answer the user's problem.

Before embarking on the five-day journey which emphasizes critical thinking, consult the sacred tomes, such as the Proof of Concept Intensive Battle guide by Jake Knapp, one of the original creators. Study these ancient scrolls to familiarize yourself with the process and ensure that thy team is prepared to face any difficulties that may await them.

Create a powerful artifact – the checklist. This essential tool will assist thee in organizing the tasks, steps, and materials needed for success. Distribute it amongst thy fellow adventurers, so they may all share in the responsibility and contribute to the ultimate goal of designing an innovative solution.

As the clock beguiles, devise a cunning step-by-step plan to optimize thy limited time. Divide thine agenda into daily accomplishments and document them in emails or other means of communication, for they will serve as reminders of milestones to be reached during this expedition.

Finally, warriors lay the groundwork for actionable feedback to involve stakeholders through regular touchpoints, ensuring their input and approval shall lend additional strength to the prototypes forged during this Ideation boot camp.

Now, go forth and conquer, for success awaits those who dare to tackle the problems of the Google Innovation Sprint and emerge victorious!

Design Sprint Applications and Success Stories

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DS adventures, first introduced by Google, are changing the way businesses tackle their product development. This five-phase process helps organizations of any size foster innovation, iterate rapidly, and enhance their overall product offerings. From startups to nonprofits, many organizations have experienced significant improvements through sprints, brought firsthand expertise, and I'll be telling ya about some successful case stories right here!

Throughout the DS battle processes, team go through five main phases: Understand, Diverge, Converge, Prototype, and Test. Each phase guides the group to a more focused and clear understanding of their product goals, allowing them to move swiftly toward a tangible and tested solution.

Team tries different methods from traditional UX practice, IDEO, the Stanford School, business strategies, and even psychology, applying them to support divergent and convergent thinking.

Startups, in particular, can benefit greatly from implementing design sprints. With limited resources and time, these young businesses must make decisions quickly and efficiently. Design sprints allow startups to test and validate their products in a short period, which means more efficient use of resources and less wasted time going down the wrong path.

Nonprofits, too, can make good use of DS methodologies to improve their services and operations. By employing the innovation-focused process, organizations can pinpoint problems, develop creative solutions, and ultimately sharpen their impact on the communities they serve. For example, one nonprofit might test new fundraising strategies, while another could prototype a new product development community outreach program.

Now, let's dive into some success stories. A perfect example is when Google Ventures helped Slack, a popular communication platform, streamline its customer research and onboarding process through an innovation sprint. By the end of the sprint, Slack had a clear plan and a tested prototype that improved its user experience, leading to higher adoption rates and productivity.

Another story worth mentioning involves the online food ordering and delivery giants, Just Eat. They leveraged creative sprint adventures to tackle various issues in their mobile app redesign project. The end result was a more user-friendly and accessible app that increased customer engagement and boosted ROI β€” quite an impressive outcome, if I do say so myself!

So there ya go, folks! Design sprints have enabled organizations like Slack, Just Eat, and countless others, to streamline their product development, foster innovation, and achieve a better return on investment. I'm confident the technique offers many opportunities for even more success stories in the future!

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the key phases of a Google Venture design sprint?

Ah, the phases! There are five key stages during a Google VEN design sprint, each happening on a different day:

  1. Day 1 - Problem mapping: Defining the challenge and set a long-term goal.
  2. Day 2 - Assessing competitors and sketching concepts: Everyone sketches solutions and shares them.
  3. Day 3 - Defining a prototype: The team votes, and the winning sketches are combined into a single concept.
  4. Day 4 - Building the prototype: Create a realistic prototype, but remember, it doesn't need to be perfect!
  5. Day 5 - Testing: Collect user feedback, learn, and iterate your design.

What are some examples of successful design sprints?

Plenty of companies have successfully used design sprint battles! That helps developers, and companies in the industry, solve design problems quickly. For instance, big companies like Slack and Airbnb went through design sprint quests during their early stages, helping them refine their user experiences and set the stage for future success.

How does Design Sprint differ from design thinking?

Design Sprint Battle is like DT's focused cousin. In Design Sprint, the team tackles a specific problem in five days, moving through structured stages. On the other hand, is a broader approach to problem-solving, where no specific time frame is set and the attention goes to the mindset, tools, and processes for human-centered innovation.

What resources are needed for a successful design sprint?

Gather your squad! You'll need a small team with diverse backgrounds and expertise, like designers, product managers, and engineers. Don't forget a dedicated space to work collaboratively, and have supplies handy: whiteboards, markers, sticky notes, craft paper, and whatever helps your creative juices flow.

What is the role of a wizard (facilitator) in a design sprint?

The mighty dungeon master! This person keeps the sprint master team on schedule, engages everyone, pushes for consensus, and moves the sprint forward. They must ensure each activity happens within the designated time frame, but also make sure the team is productive and the discussions are guided by the goals.

How can a design sprint help in product development?

Design sprints speed up product development by validating and testing ideas, aligning teams, and optimizing resources. They help you answer essential questions, test hypotheses, analyze confusing results and make informed decisions, all while minimizing risks, team chipped, and reducing time spent in the development procedure. So, charge forward, brave team!

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Daniel Cooper

✍️ Written By: Daniel Cooper
πŸ§™ Managing Partner, Lolly
πŸ“… May 15th 2023 (Updated - August 8th 2023)

Daniel Cooper is the founder and managing partner at Lolly and focuses on creating incredible digital products for his clients. As an experienced product designer, sprint facilitator, and software/app developer he has created simple, no-nonsense, and informative videos and articles for Lolly and other established brands.

βœ‰οΈ [email protected]   πŸ”— LinkedIn