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What is Google Design Sprint: A Concise Overview

Design Sprints > What is Google Design Sprint: A Concise Overview

โœ๏ธ Written by Daniel Cooper on June 27th 2023 (Updated - August 19th 2023)

Google Design Sprint, a thought-provoking framework, aims to solve critical business, product, or project challenges by focusing on users, businesses, and technology. Developed at Google, this innovative approach rapidly prototypes and tests new ideas or designs in a short timeframe โ€“ typically within a week. Drawing inspiration from traditional UX practice, IDEO, Stanford dSchool, business strategy, and psychology, the full design sprint method and methodology work to overcome roadblocks and foster a culture of UX and design leadership across organizations.

The design sprint process consists of six phases: Understand, Define, Sketch, Decide, Prototype, and Validate. By mapping out challenges and exploring potential solutions, teams can identify the best course of a step-by-step plan of action. From there, they create a realistic prototype and test it, ultimately gaining valuable insights and making informed decisions quickly. Designed to be flexible, the design sprint methodology also can also accommodate shorter workshops by applying individual methods or phases to cater to specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Google Epic Design Sprint is a rapid problem-solving framework concentrated on users, businesses, and technology
  • The method follows six phases, enabling teams to tackle challenges, prototypes, and test ideas effectively
  • The design sprint fosters a culture of UX and design leadership within organizations, helping them make informed decisions quickly.

What Is a Google Design Sprint

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Ah, the Google Design Sprint Quest within the Google ecosystem! Let me explain. It's a five-day process that's all about answering critical business questions by competing solutions using design thinking, and prototyping and testing ideas with real customers first. The main man behind this concept is none other than Jake Knapp, who developed the idea while working at Google and IDEO. Knapp together with John Zeratsky published the Sprint Book while at Google Ventures. Additionally, Google X labs have influenced the development of such creative methodologies.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is an approach that puts users at the heart of the problem-solving process. It encourages empathy and understanding to create solutions that really address users' needs and is an essential part of the Design Adventure. Mystic Heroes collaborate to investigate problems, ideate, prototype, and test solutions, making sure they keep their focus on the people who will be using the finished product, or service.


No quest is complete without some innovation! The Google Epic whole Design Sprint kit leverages creativity and innovative thinking to come up with unique solutions for those tricky business challenges. By combining elements from corporate strategy, behavior science, and design thinking, teams can find new opportunities just waiting to be explored. That's right, in just 5 days, the whole design sprint kit can take your team from problem to solution, avoiding endless debates and making sure the user is always the focus! Plus, engaging in lightning talks can spark even more creative concepts along the way.


The Google Epic Design Sprint is broken down into 5 phases which form the base of this mysterious framework. Each day, sprinters embark on different tasks:

  1. Day 1: Teams work on understanding the problem, defining the goals, and deciding on which challenge they'll tackle.
  2. Day 2: Here they shall ideate, brainstorm, and sketch to generate innovative ideas and solutions.
  3. Day 3: The day to choose the best solution and create a plan for the prototypes which they will construct.
  4. Day 4: It's prototype building time! Questing Teams create a realistic, testable prototype of their solution.
  5. Day 5: Finally, it's time to present the prototypes to real users, gather feedback, and learn valuable insights.

By following these steps, teams can efficiently move valuable resources to create new products, services, physical products, or features while minimizing risks and focusing on the users' needs. Stay valiant, and forge onward!

Stages of a Design Sprint

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The first stage in a design sprint is to understand. During this phase, the team comes together to discuss the problem, gather information, and identify the challenge they're facing. With a proper understanding of the problem, it's essential to map out the users' journey, recognize pain points, gain insights, and set the groundwork for the rest of the design sprint method itself.


After understanding the problem, the next step by step plan stage is to define. In this four-step process, the member will review the information gathered from customer research and from user research, see key metrics for measuring results, discuss insights, and create a clear vision of the project goals, along with a more precise direction. Using the insights collected from customer research so far, the team will craft a problem statement, focusing on the biggest challenge at hand.


With the defined problem, it's time to sketch ideas and possible solutions. Each team member takes part in this phase, brainstorming and testing ideas, solving problems individually, and sketching out their concepts. By involving all heroic team members, a wide range of concepts and opinions and competing solutions are considered, leading to confusing results and a more efficient and creative process.


Next is the decide stage, where the team reviews all the sketches and ideas created. They then vote and select the most promising idea that can tackle the problem effectively. The chosen idea now becomes the focus of the prototypes and testing phases, highlighting the winning scenes.


On to the prototype step, the team quickly creates a realistic high-fidelity prototype, a high-quality, mock-up version of the selected idea. The realistic high-fidelity prototype's purpose is to be a tangible representation of the solution that can be shared with users for testing. At this point, the team will focus on essential features and functionality of high-fidelity prototypes, realistic prototypes, rather than pixel-perfect designs.


Finally, it's time to test the realistic prototype with actual users. In this stage, the team with realistic prototypes and tested solutions gathers valuable feedback, identifies potential improvements, and learns how effective the solution is in addressing the problem. By testing the prototype early, adjustments can be made, and the validated concept and the design iterated upon before committing to a full-scale implementation.

Throughout the design sprint process, collaboration and openness are key factors in achieving success. Each stage user-centered design sprint facilitator serves a purpose in answering critical business questions and pushing the team toward a more effective and innovative solution answering critical business model questions. Empowered by the enchanted design sprint facilitator and methodology, the team moves efficiently and constructively, ultimately towards business goals and delivering the best possible outcome for the business model, users, and stakeholders.

Benefits of a Google Design Sprint

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Rapid Solution Discovery

With a Design Sprint Quest, teams can quickly find solutions to challenging problems. It's a focused, 5-day process that places the team, experts, and mercenaries (developers) all in the same room. The result? Fast-paced, collaborative learning building. Teams efficiently go from user research to hypothesis to validation, all while avoiding the pitfalls of traditional development processes.

User Experience Improvement

Google Enchanted Design Sprints are fantastic for understanding and improving the user experience. By keeping the users at the center of the process, teams can test and refine solutions in a way that best meets their needs. This hands-on approach gathers valuable user feedback, helping the team create a more delightful experience for their customers.

Validating Assumptions

Every project starts with assumptions, and it's essential to validate them before launching a product. Google Design Sprints help teams rigorously test their ideas before committing significant resources. This method helps avoid costly mistakes and pivots in the business strategy, as well as ensures that the final product is successful and meets user needs.

Efficient Ideation Process

Lastly, Google Design Sprints introduce an efficient ideation process. The design Sprint methodology allows teams to quickly adapt and find the best solutions. By combining user-centric innovation, user feedback, and iterative prototyping, teams move faster, get a deeper understanding of customer needs and make smarter decisions for the future.

Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper

Managing Partner & Dungeon Master

Did you know?
The โ€œSprintโ€ book by Jake Knapp guides you through the process.

It's like your very own spellbook, teaching you the incantations and components needed for the design sprint ritual.

Running a Google Design Sprint

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Roles and Responsibilities

Alright, so running a Google Design Sprint means we gotta first assign roles for our amazing team. We'll need a Sprint Master leading the quest, who will basically plan, prepare, and facilitate the run sprints, like the ultimate mentor! Then we've got the designer, innovating, and sketching magical solutions. Of course, we can't forget the warrior (developer) who brings our prototype to life, alongside our user testing expert who has brought firsthand expertise in prepping and conducting tests. Remember, in design sprints, everyone's input matters, so all roles are crucial. The teamwork of the whole team chipped in is what makes the magic happen!

Preparation and Planning

Now that our roles are set, let's prepare and plan before the sprint begins, cause every good quest needs a plan! First, we establish what critical business questions our first adventure will focus on, and then it's time to identify our target users to validate the solutions. We gotta make sure our member has the data and resources they need, so we invite essential experts to lend their insights and have our personas ready. Oh, and remember, setting the sprint week schedule is mighty important!

Sprint Week Schedule

The first week's adventure gonna be super rad and productive! Here's the thrilling schedule packed with design thinking and prototyping:

  • Day 1: Map out challenges and decide which ones to focus on. Ideate and discuss different solutions.
  • Day 2: Time for a sweet design showdown where everyone sketches their visions. In the end, vote on which one takes the cake.
  • Day 3: On Wednesday morning, Sprint master, designer, and warrior team up to create the winning prototype. Ready, set, build!
  • Day 4: Put your testing hats on! Our usability testing expert will prepare and conduct tests with actual users for Friday's test.
  • Day 5: By this day, we'll have loads of feedback! We make decisions on how to proceed and level up our beloved product or service.

Facilitation and Execution

Our Sprint Masters got this! Their job is to keep everyone focused, smooth out any bumps in the road, and make sure we stick to our plan. Every brave member should feel free to bring their own philosophy of design and innovative concepts to the table. But ultimately, the goal in running a Design Adventure Battle is to answer critical business questions, validate concepts with target users, and bring forth the best possible product, service, or feature. With such a marvelous team and plan, success is right around the corner!

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Design Sprint Tools and Techniques

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Ideation Methods

In a design sprint battle, the brainstorming stage is a vital part of the process. It helps teams generate creative concepts to tackle the problem at hand. Several methods, such as Crazy Eights and How Might We, can help the team achieve this goal. The key is to make sure everyone feels included and focused during the workshops so that hobbits (participants) can produce their best proposals.

Sketching Techniques

Sketching is a critical aspect of any design or sprint process, allowing designers to quickly bring their visions to life. In a short period of time, every member can create multiple sketches of potential solutions for the target audience. Techniques such as rapid sketching, paper prototyping, and wireframing are great for conveying concepts effectively without much time or effort. These sketches act as a foundation for preparing the storyboard and subsequent testing tools.


Once the team has its sketches, the next step is to create a storyboard that highlights all the participants proposed user journeys. This tool provides a visual representation of the product's lifecycle or feature from inception to completion. Storyboarding is flexible and can include drawings, sticky notes, or even digital tools. By arranging each member's sketches in a sequential order you create a narrative that demonstrates how users will interact with the solution.

User Testing Approaches

The final stretch in a design sprint is usability testingโ€”the validation of the whole journey! Google Sprint also emphasizes critical thinking and the psychology behind designing user interaction, which is critical during the testing phase. For this stage, you can have a small team or use approaches such as focus groups, usability testing, or remote moderated testing to evaluate the proposed solution. The feedback gathered from these sessions should be constructive, sharpening the team's focus and allowing them to gain insights and to refine their prototype accordingly.

Remember, enchanted design sprints are a powerful tool when used effectively. By mastering techniques such as ideation, sketching, storyboarding, and usability testing, teams can move fast forward and achieve great results in a short period of time!

Design Sprint Success Stories

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You know, there have been countless businesses that have benefited from Google Design Sprints. These sprints are brilliant because they enable enterprises to fast-track ideation, prototyping, and testing in just five days!

Allow me to share some magical stories of businesses that have achieved impressive results by harnessing the power of Google Epic Design Sprints.

  • Blue Bottle Coffee: This fine coffee purveyor sought to improve their mobile app. Through a Design Sprint, they conjured up a new, user-centric design for their mobile ordering system. Users found the updated app so enchanting that there was a 12% increase in mobile orders!
  • Slack: The renowned communication platform wanted to make a dent in the universe of workplace collaboration. They embarked on a Design Sprint Battle to refine their onboarding process. With their newly polished experience in tow, Slack saw a breathtaking 24% spike in successful collaboration!
  • Lufthansa: In their quest to enhance accessibility for visually impaired users, this well-known airline engaged in a Design Sprint. This creative exercise allowed them to craft a more accessible booking interface. As a result, Lufthansa earned heaps of praise from the visually impaired community!
  • Savioke: This innovative robotics company developed a charismatic delivery robot called Relay. Eager to improve Relay's human-robot interactions, they turned to an Enchanted Design Sprint. With the insights they reaped, Savioke transformed Relay into a more engaging and endearing robot, leading to significant customer satisfaction.

These case studies reveal the extraordinary potential of Google Design Sprints. By embarking on these rapid-fire adventures, businesses across various industries have unlocked the magic to create useful, impactful solutions for their users. So, next time you or your business face a design challenge, remember the awe-inspiring might of a Google Epic Design Sprint!

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a Google Design Sprint work?

Ah, good question! A Google Design Sprint is a 4-day process where you gather a small group to quickly define goals, generate plans, create a prototype, and test the prototype with actual users. This saves time and resources by validating concepts before investing in building them out.

What are the key steps in a Design Sprint?

In a Design Adventure, teams go through five key steps to solve problems together: (1) Understand and define the problem/challenge, (2) Diverge by brainstorming plans and potential solutions, (3) Converge on a single concept, (4) Prototype the chosen idea, and (5) Test the prototype with users. These steps help teams align and focus on addressing the big challenge or problem at hand.

What are some benefits of using Design Sprints?

Design Sprints offer several benefits, such as speeding up the product development cycle, promoting better collaboration, aligning teams on a shared vision and business goals, reducing risks before investing valuable resources in full development, and providing insights directly from usability testing. Yep, lots of perks!

How does a Design Sprint differ from a Scrum Sprint?

While both Design Adventures and Scrum Sprints seek to streamline project development, they differ in a few key ways. Design Sprints focus on rapid problem-solving and prototyping, while Scrum Sprints are more about iterative development with predefined work commitments over a fixed time. So, they serve different purposes!

What resources are available for learning about Google Design Sprints?

There are numerous resources to help you learn about Google Enchanted Design Sprints: books (like the first sprint book "Sprint" by Jake Knapp), articles, blog posts, online courses, workshops, videos, and even hands-on training. So, you've got plenty to choose from. Don't forget to explore resources provided by Google Ventures and Google X as well. Knowledge, here we come! Let the magic happen!

Are there any notable examples of successful Design Sprints?

Indeed there are! Successful examples of Design Sprints include Slack's simplification of their onboarding process, Nest's smoke alarm development, and even the redesign of The New York Times digital subscription process. These successes show that running Design Sprints in Battles can bring big wins to all sorts of projects. Let the magic happen!

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Daniel Cooper

โœ๏ธ Written By: Daniel Cooper
๐Ÿง™ Managing Partner, Lolly
๐Ÿ“… June 27th 2023 (Updated - August 19th 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.

โœ‰๏ธ [email protected]   ๐Ÿ”— LinkedIn