Strategy & Innovation

Why and how to do a design sprint?

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We sometimes get the impression that innovation is a bit like haute couture: reserved for a creative elite who think outside the box. But in reality, there's a wealth of talent ready to blossom in our companies. The problem is the invisible barriers, the cultural brakes that make us hold back, that make us feel unconcerned by the subject. So how do we unlock this latent potential for innovation? Let me introduce you to the Design Sprint, an event format designed so that everyone can experience innovation, live it and contribute to the design of new products or services.

Definition: what is a design sprint?

Design Thinking on the fast track, according to Jake Knapp

Design sprint is a condensed, energized version of the design thinking method. The origin of the design sprint comes from the book "Design sprint" by Jake Knapp, a human-centered approach that has been revolutionizing service and product design for several years. Lasting 1 or several intense and productive days, we carry out all the steps of design thinking in an accelerated version. The time constraint allows us to stimulate the creativity of the participating teams, made up of innovation managers, UX designers, decision-makers, marketing, sales, R&D and technical departments. The more multidisciplinary the profiles, the richer the exchanges and the more original the responses.

How does design thinking work?

Design thinking is one of the main innovation methods to emerge from Silicon Valley.

From the outset, we immerse ourselves in understanding users' needs - this is empathy in action. Then, after defining a tangible problem to be solved, participants are invited to imagine multiple and original solutions to this problem, before converging on the most enlightened solutions. These solutions are not left on paper; they take shape, are transformed into prototypes to be tested, and come full circle with concrete feedback from users. We owe this efficiency to a strict framework and preparation work that leaves nothing to chance, as well as a time constraint that stimulates participants' creativity.

Who is Design Sprint for?

The design sprint is an exercise that can be applied to any organization: from start-ups to design solutions and their associated business strategy, to large corporations to imagine innovative new concepts or services.

The creation process also encourages the inclusion of people from outside the company, such as customers and partners, who bring a different perspective on needs, the best ideas for meeting them, and the opportunity to carry out initial user tests fairly quickly.

Why do a design sprint?

Beyond the design of new products or services, the design sprint is a workshop format that is used by companies for other purposes, and offers many advantages for experiencing innovation in different ways.

An immersive experience

First and foremost, it's about creating a memorable, unifying moment for teams. Participants are immersed in an intense moment that aims to create a collective dynamic and a sense of unity around a common goal. This immersive experience is experienced as an adventure, a moment to mark with a white stone in the team's calendar, where we create together and remember this union of efforts. The design sprint can be a powerful exercise in sharing and aligning multiple stakeholders around a single vision.

Collective intelligence

Away from the daily grind, the design sprint is a breath of fresh air, a moment out of time when the company has the opportunity to break down silos. We put together multi-disciplinary teams from different departments and get them to think together. The diversity of profiles around the table provides a real wealth of ideas and ideation. Indeed, the main benefit of the design sprint is collective intelligence, i.e. building on the ideas of others to create a solution that goes beyond what 1 person alone would have been capable of creating.

A fun format

A design sprint is often experienced as an intense and engaging moment for teams. However, they don't have the impression that time is running out, because the format of the event is such that it passes extremely quickly. Indeed, the facilitator ensures that certain rules of animation are respected. We juggle a variety of activities: sub-group work, brainstorming sessions, collective sharing, research and data collection, creative design and prototyping, staging and pitch sessions. All coupled with artifacts that facilitate collaboration: legos, images, canvas, serious games.

In this context, creativity is king, but it is channeled to encourage the emergence of innovative concepts. Finding the balance between shared experience and the production of innovative ideas is the art of the sprint facilitator, who guides the team through this structured journey.

Method: how to do a design sprint?

A 5-step methodology

The stages of a design sprint can be presented as follows.


The 1st morning is dedicated to the empathy phase: construction of personas, user paths, interviews and user research to put ourselves in the shoes of the target users of the reflection.

Further information

In the afternoon, we delve deeper into the needs and painpoints of these users, and define the scope of the problem we want to address. We reframe the problem as an opportunity, putting participants in the right frame of mind to come up with the best ideas.


The next day, the creative process begins with a phase of ideation, supported by projection and inspiration activities. Situations and constraints enable participants to free themselves from their preconceived ideas and seek inspiration outside their usual field of thought. We use various artifacts to facilitate exchanges: post-its, crazy 8s, erasable whiteboards, friezes, gallery walks, legos. We put a time limit on this ideation phase to stimulate participants' creativity.


The next stage of the design sprint is the construction of an innovative solution based on a selection, prioritization and deepening of the ideas that have emerged. The idea is reworked to find the best balance between market desirability, economic viability and technical feasibility. The solution must offer a return on investment for the company, otherwise it will be doomed to failure.


Once the solution has been established from a conceptual point of view, the teams create a low-cost prototype of the product with a view to carrying out user tests as soon as possible. The aim is to be able to produce a proof of concept to validate the target audience's interest in the solution, with a view to a rapid market launch. Product prototyping is carried out in a fairly basic way, using digital, technical or paper tools. These include storyboards, mock-ups, product boxes and solution sheets. These are all techniques that can be used to project the product's use and its value proposition. This is the final phase in the collaborative workshop creation process.

Thanks to its limited duration, the design sprint launches the teams into this iterative dynamic, with the aim of continuing the project, both in terms of product prototyping and user testing. Among other things, these different stages of the design sprint enable participants to adopt a lean startup approach, encouraging them to take a certain amount of risk in unveiling the product, showing it off and having it tested, even if it isn't finished. This learning process ensures that the proposed solution is always in line with market expectations.

The recipe for a successful design sprint

It's not enough to invite a few participants to a design sprint to make it a success. The conditions for a successful event are directly linked to the involvement and mobilization of the participants beforehand. Here are a few best practices to follow to ensure that the design sprint runs smoothly.

Having a sponsor

A sponsor on board and present at the beginning of the workshop to share the vision and objective of the session. It is very important to give meaning to the event and to share the company's challenges, in order to engage teams in the production of relevant ideas.

Unified space

Whether grouped together in a room or linked via screens, the important thing is to form a unified space. A setting where concentration is king and collaboration is facilitated can become a veritable productivity bubble. This implies reliable technology for virtual sprints and a workspace adapted to face-to-face meetings, so that collective energy remains focused on creativity and innovation.


The quality of the sprint depends on the diversity and competence of the participants. Each team member must be validated by his or her hierarchy to guarantee his or her investment and active contribution. The aim is to bring together a team where everyone is not only an expert in their field, but also open and motivated to work in synergy and explore outside their comfort zone.


The complete availability of each participant throughout the sprint is essential to guarantee the overall efficiency of the creative process. This means blocking agendas, eliminating distractions and ensuring that everyone's attention is focused on achieving the objectives. When all minds are present and focused, every step of the process becomes smoother, and every decision quicker and more considered.


In the run-up to the sprint, solid preparation is fundamental. This includes familiarization with the objectives of the sprint, but also with the tools and methods that will be used. A well-prepared team is one that can dive straight into innovation without being slowed down by technical or methodological obstacles.


Have an experienced facilitation team, sized to the number of participants. We recommend teams of no more than 5-6 people, to ensure that the magic of collective intelligence works smoothly. The facilitators are supervised by a sprint master, who takes the lead throughout the event to ensure that the workshop runs smoothly.

By implementing these best practices, the design sprint proves to be a powerful catalyst for innovation, a means for every company to crystallize bold ideas into concrete solutions. It's a collaborative adventure that shapes the future, breaks with convention and strengthens team cohesion around a common goal: to create significant value for the company and its customers.

Dynergie, a consulting firm that supports you in your design sprints

Design sprint training

Design sprint methodology can't be improvised, which is why we offer design thinking training in the form of design sprint sessions, which have a dual benefit:

  • Discover the Design Thinking method and provide the keys needed to apply it to a concrete case.
  • Experiment with the different phases of the process during a design sprint on a real organizational problem.

These training courses are made up of a variety of activities combining field phases (observation, interviews), collective intelligence sessions and collaborative and creative workshops.

Design sprint workshops

At Dynergie, we apply the design sprint methodology to several use cases:

  • creating an innovation roadmap by identifying innovative ideas to be explored. These can be at 3 levels: improving existing products or services, creating new solutions, or exploring future technologies for the company.
  • the design of a product or service, and the alignment of all stakeholders on the vision of the solution, its functional scope and expected contributions.
  • continuous process improvement through innovative solutions

Our support starts with a scoping phase to fully understand the ambitions, challenges and objectives of the design sprint.

We then enter the preparation phase, during which our team members tailor the design sprint methodology to the company's context, and to the duration and format of the deliverables to be produced.

Our facilitators then take charge of the overall running of the event, as well as the formalization and feedback.


The Design Sprint is an excellent way of getting your teams to experiment. The format allows all participants to realize that they are legitimate innovators, and that it's all a question of mindset. The complementary nature of the profiles around the table guarantees rich, original and hard-to-reproduce ideas. It's collective intelligence that makes innovation possible, much more than the single idea of someone more familiar with innovation issues. So don't hesitate to propose the exercise to your teams!

At Dynergie, we're convinced that design sprints are a real innovation lever for companies. If you would like to benefit from the support of our experts, please contact us via our contact page.

Manon Rethouze

Director of Innovation Strategies - Strategy, Acculturation - Lyon

With 5 years of experience in management consulting and organizational transformation, Manon has developed an expertise in agile project management. Her innovation practice started as an intrapreneur, then through a differentiating use of a whole range of methods and tools to make projects more collaborative, engaging and efficient. She trained in workshop facilitation, and uses serious collaborative games, graphic facilitation, coupled with agile and design thinking approaches to work in co-construction with her clients. She offers her clients her experience in project management, collaborative workshop facilitation and agile methods to achieve innovative projects with high impact.

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