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Innovation Sprint — Exploring and validating a business direction in 2 to 4 weeks

October 12, 2021

Organisations who stick to the business-as-usual mindset have a hard time taking the time and effort needed to explore and pursue new ideas that can give them the advantage they need to keep up with competitors or stand out from them.

The solution might be running an Innovation Sprint, a new method created by Xperienz. Simply put, the Sprint team joins efforts with the organisation team and in 2 weeks (minimum) they identify three strategic business directions, taking into account the organisation’s current state and structure. These innovative ideas are prototyped and tested and in the end the organisation will know the best path to follow.

What is an Innovation Sprint?

An Innovation Sprint can range from 2 to 4 weeks (or more). It is conducted by a small multidisciplinary team of researchers and designers who partner with the organisation team.

During that time, the team takes the organisation’s business attributes and identifies opportunities that match market needs. Here’s an example: a delivery company has several cars and makes all clients’ deliveries in the morning. Those cars are completely unused all afternoon. There’s then the opportunity to search for a business that takes advantage of those cars.

Taking an ideation approach, the Sprint team identifies 3 opportunities and validates their logistical feasibility in the company. Then they build validation prototypes to discover which is the more suitable one. This way the company reduces uncertainty and avoids spending money trying to actually set up the operations to validate them, and even if it doesn’t work out, the costs were minimal.

Sprint Weeks Overview

Week 1 — In the first seven days, the Sprint team fully immerses into the organisation, finding out all about the business, the organisational structure, processes, tools, and systems. During that time, they identify organisational problems, challenges and opportunities.

Week 2 — The second week is mainly dedicated to ideation. This is the time to think outside the box, generate ideas and explore many possible solutions.

Week 3 — Three of those ideas are selected and validated through prototyping and testing.

Week 4 — The lessons learned from testing the three ideas result in a final idea, which is validated with an interactive prototype and with real users.

Why should an organisation run an Innovation Sprint?

  • Generate groundbreaking ideas for new products, technologies, services and business models;
  • Build user value by improving products or create new ones;
  • Get actionable data on multiple concepts at a rapid pace;
  • Make better investment decisions, evidence-based;
  • Ideas are validated with low- and high-fidelity prototypes;
  • By testing ideas, the risk of failure is considerably reduced;
  • Save time and resources;
  • Improve the organisation’s competitive advantage.

What are the mais goals of an Innovation Sprint?

1 — Reduce the uncertainty and the risk in strategic decision-making, contributing to more informed decisions and supported by preliminary evidence.

2 — Quickly gather insights to support decision-making on 3 possible strategic directions through research, design and rapid prototyping for each of the directions.

3 — Select one the 3 directions and carry out an additional interaction validation to the chosen direction, in order to reduce the risk and identify opportunities.

Which resources are involved?

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

The Sprint Team — The Innovation Sprint is conducted by a multidisciplinary team in order to ensure that business consulting, research, user research, human-centric design, prototyping and user testing skills are present throughout the process.

The Sprint team is formed by fixed elements who have the support and involvement of different areas of expertise during the sprint weeks. At each time, the team allocated to the Sprint is formed by several elements according to the skills needed in that specific phase of the Sprint.

The Client Team — In order to ensure the sprint goals are met, it’s crucial that members of the company are present in specific moments.

One of the client’s team member should have the authority to make binding decisions about the sprint, so that things can move at a good pace.

Client team members should know the challenges analysed. They should be from different company’s departments and have different profiles.

Innovation reduces uncertainty and speeds up decision-making

Researching all about the organisation and identifying the main issues avoids making strategic business decisions based on assumptions. It helps to define a problem to solve and come up with innovative solutions for it.

Through research and prototype testing the Sprint team can explore the needs and pain-points in loco and gather evidence that will add value to the solution built for users. By developing, improving and strengthening a business idea, organisations will know they are making the right investment and stand out from their competition.

Want to run an Innovation Sprint in your organisation?

Xperienz has a skilled, multidisciplinary team who will deep dive into your organisation and assess its current state, studying systems, tools and processes. Through business consultancy, research, human-centric design, prototyping and user testing, in just few weeks we will identify opportunities and point out the right business direction.

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