How to Run a Google Design Sprint: Tips from Thailand

How to Run a Google Design Sprint: Tips from Thailand

As a designer working in Bangkok, every project I'm a part of has a different challenge, and learning from those challenges is what makes being a UX designer a truly gratifying experience.

In this case, the challenge was creating a new business model for an existing product...from scratch. Long story short, the PALO IT team in Thailand was brought on board a client project aiming to find a precise business model for their product/service. Our ultimate goal was to make sure this model widely differentiated them from competitors, and put them firmly on the path of 'market leader' within just four weeks.

Challenge accepted, what's next?

After receiving the brief, a lot of questions came to light within our team. How will we meet this timeline? Where to start our research? We kickstarted the project immediately, dividing it into four distinct parts—understand, define, ideate, built—following Design Thinking best practices. For the purpose of our work, we adapted the model to fit our goals, but it served as a strong framework.

While it wasn't the only concept we used along the way, Google Design Sprint injected some much-needed energy into our processes, and played an important part in guiding the team along our journey.

Week 1: The week began with heavy research, exploring every nook and cranny to better understand the market, and what made our product unique. This week was packed with learning about customers, business needs, competitors, the industry climate and, notably, what technologies would be best fit to supercharge the product. This week was especially important in terms of preparation. Going into a design sprint, you should already have clear information at your disposal. At this stage, everyone should feel educated and confident in what lies ahead.

google design sprint, design thinking

Rolling out our Google Design Sprint

Week 2: We hit the ground running on week two, for our five-day Google Design Sprint workshop, a rapid product design and testing process. For the purpose of this post, I'll say the the number one word to keep in mind for the workshop is preparation. Whether you're a newbie to design sprints, or you're a seasoned veteran, prepping for the week ahead is absolutely crucial. That being said, being open to change is also an important asset on your journey. We found this out on a daily basis, as adjustments were always needed. We ran the sprint as a five-step process, outlined in the visual below.

At the end of the five-day experience, we had a firm value proposition, and a product model that we were all proud of.

google design sprint, sprint sessionWeek 3: Week three was when we started making use of the results of our design sprint, testing our concept out in the real world, with users. As a designer, I'm all about prototyping, so this week was another highlight for myself. Notably, we used Figma for our prototyping this time around. After we compiled user insight, we analysed what we came away with and further improved on our product concept. Following that were technical mapping activities with our outstanding tech team, allowing us to better understand the technical constraints and capabilities we'd be looking at as we moved the project forward. By the end of the week we had a clickable prototype on our hands.

Week 4: Week four concluded our project inception. During this time we retraced what we'd accomplished, including successes and failures, documented our work, and presented it back to the client.

TL;DR

The Google Design Sprint could be a useful tool for helping designers to empathise, define, and design a new business model for the client, especially within the context of Design Thinking. However, make preparation your priority, be open to change, and make sure you adapt activities based on the project context.

In upcoming posts, I'll dive deeper into the details of each design sprint activity, from understanding, to ideation, to prototyping and beyond...in the meantime, I hope this served as a helpful intro!

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