This is how design sprint works

In order to create new goods and services – such as websites, apps and marketing campaigns – design processes are often used today that are able to provide a fast, flexible, agile response to companies’ goals and consumer needs. A kind of response therefore, which precisely because it is fast, flexible, agile, is effective in the current digital landscape, in constant and fluid development.

One of the most cited processes is that of design thinking. In general, this approach favors the innovative solution of the problems of designing goods and services based on the needs of the customers to whom the company addresses. It is a collaborative, interactive, continuous process of creation: the goods and services that arise from design thinking they are quick to make and easy to test, to adapt to any new needs. For some years now has sprint design, used, for example, by Domino, a digital marketing agency, f customer experienceborn in Turin in 1996.

That sprint design uses some of the principles of design thinking trying to get a solution in a very short time, five days, involving all those responsible for the project: from the company’s employees to managers, up to marketing and communication consultants. “We have adapted sprint design to the Italian reality consisting of consolidated companies rather than startups. And then we have compressed the times even more and reached four days, “says Andrea Bosso, strategy and consulting director at Domino. The method has been applied to companies such as Iveco, Arca Fondi, Danieli Automation, Masi.

Domino consultants work with a group of between five and twelve people from the company who approached them, and also involve a decision maker, such as the CEO or the Marketing Director. During the first two days, Monday and Tuesday, the group works together to identify the company’s problems and objectives and possible solutions. On Wednesday and Thursday, however, Domino consultants work with the concrete design of the chosen solution: a first hypothesis is presented to the company team on Wednesday afternoon, it is then refined the following morning and finally presented in the afternoon.

The solution can take different forms, Bosso explains, and lead to the creation of three types of projects: a roadmap (a marketing campaign or a new one). customer experiencei.e. how the company interacts with customers), a point of contact (an object, such as a website or an app) and finally a service (eg the area reserved for customers on the company’s website).

That sprint design it is therefore a collaborative process that also makes use of a strong visual approach: During the first two days, the walls of the rooms the two teams work in are filled with colored sticky notes with ideas, notes, hypotheses. The sheets can be removed and moved at will, precisely because the process is smooth and fluid.


The company team and the Domino team work together: Once the goal to be achieved has been identified, such as the deployment of a new car-sharing service in the city, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the place of the customers that the company wants to achieve. . It is not a question of thinking of them as a target for people with similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics, but as peoplea term that for some decades in the field of marketing has identified a group of people with common needs, motivations and behaviors.

Through the goal, for example, the company postulates that car sharing is a product designed for a middle-class woman of thirty-five. Through the concept people, the company identifies all the users who need to move with agility in the city, which also includes the woman described above. It is thus possible to satisfy a larger group of customers without excluding others in advance.

Therefore identify people to reach (the first colored plates attached to the wall), the two teams try to understand the motivations and needs that push these people to choose a product and service over others. If a person needs to move around the city, he can choose a subscription to the vehicle, car sharing or buying a car. You need to understand how and why he chooses one option over another and what problems he may face. For example, if he chooses a car, he may find the car booking app too intuitive to use.

After identifying these paths and the relative difficulties, we need to understand how we solve them: this is what happens on Tuesday. An exercise suggested by the Domino team is called crazy eight: Each participant has eight minutes to hypothesize about eight different solutions to the user’s problem. Each of them then chooses one or two ideas to explore, with drawings and hypotheses, as if they were a story to tell: All this is always shown on the sheets stuck on the walls. The ideas are compared, to finally choose the one to be implemented.


At this point, the Domino team has the information needed to present a solution project to the customer: a more streamlined way to book car sharing or a renewed app with new maps or a personal area of ​​service to favor customers … more faithfully. The solution project will, as we have seen, be presented and discussed on Wednesday and Thursday in order to proceed to its final realization in the following months.

That sprint design it therefore provides an opportunity to optimize times and in just four days find a new solution, co-designed and shared with the company, which therefore progresses compactly in one direction, Bosso explains. Moreover, thanks to the use of the term people a certain limited vision for both companies and agencies has been overcome: the center of the design process becomes the needs of customers, Bosso continues. Precisely because of the creative path behind, the solution is generated by sprint design it is not perceived as a monolithic project which, once completed, is no longer updated. Instead, it is a prototype: lean, built in a short time, constantly tested to see if it works and subsequently updated, in a process of continuous development, Bosso concludes. For the director of strategy and consulting at Domino, today’s design thinking is therefore far from the twentieth century, precisely because it is fast and flexible.

Domino also used sprint design for one of its communications projects called Domino25, linked to the company’s twenty-fifth anniversary. In fact, 25 words have been identified that represent the near future of the world of work and society, asking to be interpreted and elaborated through a series of videos for its customers, its team and its partners, such as Scuola Holden and Fondazione Paideia.

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