An impression of a design sprint – by Gijs van Til

As a programmer chances are you will not be involved in the development of a product until after there’s already a clear view on what the product is going to be. As part of BSSA Lab I had the opportunity to be involved in that critical early phase in which a product takes shape. Last week, together with three experience designers and another programmer, I’ve participated in a design sprint for Healthy Workers, a company that aims to create green and healthy offices in which employees truly thrive.

The Design sprint has been developed by Google Ventures and delivers a method to, as Google puts it, answer critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Funny, but important detail: this all happens in just five days. It turned out to be five very exiting and educational days and I’d love to share my insights with you. 


Monday – Its all about understanding
This day was all about getting to truly understand the business question at hand. We kicked off our sprint with an expert panel. With all the information and insights from the panel buzzing in our heads we filled the rest of the day with brainstorm session and discussions. Although the amount of information we had to process was huge, we eventually managed to create a map on which we stated all the steps that had to be taken to reach Healthy Worker’s goal: happy & healthy employees! From that moment, whenever we wondered where to go, we had our map to help us out.

Tuesday – Ideas, ideas, ideas
Now that we’ve created our map, it was time to ideate and let our creativity flow. One of the things we did to encourage this process, was a crazy eight session. This means you get five minutes to draw eight sketches, which, I know, sounds crazy but turned out to be great way to get the creativity going. In the afternoon each of us picked one of our crazy eights and transformed it into a storyboard. We were ready for decision day.

WednesdayDecision day
We evaluated and discussed the storyboards we had made on the previous day. Of course we all had our preferences and our opinions on what did and what didn’t work, but in the end it was up to our decision maker to decide which idea would make it to the prototyping phase.

Thursday – Prototype
The enthusiasm of the group made it very hard to let go of the ideas we came up with. and I think that’s why our decision maker proposed to, instead of working out just one of our ideas, to transform two of them into prototypes. Although this also meant that we still had a lot of work to do, everybody was immediately up for it. We worked hard and we succeeded; in less than five hours we put together two prototypes.

Friday Interviews and a presentation
On the last day we’ve conducted five interviews with people from various professional backgrounds to see what they thought of the prototypes we came up with. I liked how each of the interviewees emphasised different aspects of our solutions. This, again, brought us valuable insights.

We ended our first ever design sprint by presenting our results to the B. Amsterdam team.

Altogether I would like to thank Boy, Jorik, Saskia, Daemien, Anneke and Annelie for an amazing week; I really enjoyed working in such a diverse team and in such an agile way and I think we can be very proud of what we’ve accomplished in just five days. Last week’s sprint turned out to be a perfect kickstart into the next phase of Healthy Workers and I’m excited to see what their future is going to bring.

Blog by Gijs van Til 
Full-Stack Development graduate at The New York Code & Design Academy