What are Innovation Sprints?

what-are-innovation-sprints?

Every company is competing intensely with dozens of startups. All of them yearn for a piece of the pie. 

 

If we think that the secret of success is execution, large companies have a competitive edge. Execution is their game, as they have the manpower and the necessary means for it.

 

But there are some obstacles that prevent them from innovating such as slow decision-making and a demotivating hierarchy. The problem may lie in the fact that traditional companies have adapted to these obstacles, rather than challenge them.

 

And what if you are able to put together execution with ideas and innovative ways of organizing the company? The Innovation Sprints came to change how businesses operate.

 

Decide faster, execute faster

 

When athletes need to improve their speed, they change the long-distance training to interval training, for example. They do not train at the same pace constantly but alternate their routine with high intensity and fast pace training. This is exactly the concept of sprint innovation: add periods of high intensity and pace to the innovation program, breaking the routine and speeding up the process.

 

Thiago Ururahy, head of ACE Corp., commented on his experience with the method:

 

“The advantage of a company to develop and test a new idea through a sprint is that it has a brilliant execution time. It is not short enough that you can not be productive, but it’s not long enough to make you feel comfortable. The deadline is always in your face and you have to always rely on the working method to meet the deadline. “

 

What is an Innovation Sprint?

 

An innovation sprint is a certain period of time, usually 5-7 days, when the teams stop their main activities to create an innovation plan ready for application, investigating technologies or responding to challenges. This movement serves to push the limits of the company’s knowledge in order to add value.

 

The sprint consists of executing 5 simple elements:

  1. Find out the status quo: just like any sport, before a sprint, everyone should be well prepared and ready to go.
  2. Set your innovation mission: in this phase, the team agrees with specific objectives that innovation strategy aims to achieve.
  3. Create your innovation plan: how to achieve the goals?
  4. Decide with key stakeholders: at this stage, the board meets separately and agrees to a specific plan.
  5. Deliver the strategy: the project is put into practice and validated.

On the last day, the teams gather to present their findings to the company.

 

Innovation Sprint benefits

An Innovation Sprint empowers your employees by giving them challenges and opportunities to learn. By investing and giving them room to experiment, you not only bring them closer to the company but also involve them in the company’s current direction.

For example, drop six developers on a project for a few days will bring incredible results. At the end of the sprint, you can have prototypes and demonstrations available to show customers, investors or board members.

 

Design Sprint: what is it and what are its advantages

The father of this innovation method is Jake Knapp, a former executive of Google Ventures, Google’s investment arm. Knapp’s idea to develop this method was to find a more effective way of innovation than traditional brainstorming.

It is also true that Design Sprint is a flexible structure, an intense effort led by a small team where the results will define the direction of a product or service.

A sprint Design consists of five distinct stages, preferably employed in five days (one each day):

1- Understand (review user insights as well as what’s behind it);

2 Disagree (discuss what is possible);

3- Converge (rate solutions, select one);

4- Make a prototype (create a minimum viable concept);

5- Test (note what is effective for users).