Design Sprints – What are they and how can they help?

Design Sprints are Hethel Innovation’s answer to tackling one of the biggest issues busy, modern businesses face – having projects, ideas, products and services you would love to improve but not enough time to focus on them.

Instead of thinking ‘maybe I’ll spare an hour next week to move my project forwards’, book in some dedicated days with our Advisors and we’ll help you to move your project into the fast lane!

What are Hethel Innovation Design Sprints?

In essence, a Hethel Innovation Design Sprint is a workshop which takes place over a set amount of time. This could be a single day, two days or a full five day week, whichever best suits your business or organisation. During this time, people from your organisation come together, in person or online, to collaborate and think creatively. The goal is to come up with and test solutions to a challenge or make improvements to a specific area of your organisation. The session is facilitated by one of our Advisors and is structured around a variety of tools and models.

Examples include:

Developing a New Product you Plan to Launch

Examining your Team’s Culture and How you Can Improve Teamwork

Improving a Service Which you Feel Needs Updating

Creating a Strategy to Reinvigorate your Marketing or Branding (e.g. Reorganising your Website)

Exploring Innovative Ideas in your Business Strategy and How to Make them Profitable in the Future

Conducting Customer Research to Enter New Markets or Better Address the Needs of your Customers

During a Hethel Innovation Design Sprint, our Advisors take you through a number of specially made tools and models. These help you address the challenge you are looking to solve. By doing so you create and test new ideas and are provided with a roadmap to further progress your project.

    What’s the Purpose of Design Sprints?

    The purpose of a Design Sprint is to develop ideas in a short amount of time to solve a challenge. This challenge may be a barrier that is preventing your organisation achieve its goals (e.g. improve growth, profits, efficiency, teamwork).

    Examples of challenges include:

    Stagnating Profits
    Falling Behind your Competition
    Out-of-Date Delivery of your Business (e.g. out-of-date website)
    Lack of Organisational Direction
    Low Team Morale

    Alternatively, your organisation may not have a particular challenge at all. Instead you may simply want to make improvements to a specific area of your business. After all, in any organisation, no matter how successful, there’s always room to do better!

    Where did Design Sprints come from?

    Design Sprints were first coined by Google Ventures, now known as GV. As venture capitalists, they wanted to test the viability of a start-up before they invested millions into the new idea. But they didn’t want to spend months developing products, debating every little detail and wasting valuable time. Instead they wanted to fast track the process and spend only five days developing a prototype and testing it with customers. This way, they could find out if it was worth investing in or was a no-go, saving themselves a huge amount of time and money.

    This is how Design Sprints were born. But at Hethel Innovation we’ve taken it a step further.

    Not all of us are venture capitalists. We’re not all start ups, we don’t all have new products we want to develop. Every business is different. Because of this, we’ve adapted Design Sprints to solve any organisational or business challenge, no matter what that challenge is.

    We use the original concept of a ‘Sprint’- a way to describe a set amount of time to complete tasks in Agile Methodology – and we work with organisations to ‘design’ a solution for their challenge or to meet their goals.

    In addition, because we recognise that many businesses don’t typically have five days to focus on internal development, we have condensed the Design Sprint process to take place over the course of one or two days. The principle behind Hethel Innovation’s Design Sprints is that they are completely adaptable and bespoke for each organisation. We’ll do what works for you.

    How do Design Sprints Work?

    Specified ‘Sprint’ time + bespoke mix of tools + expert guide = Hethel Innovation Design Sprint

    A Hethel Innovation Design Sprint is individual for each organisation but the process runs along the lines of:

    The Brief

    Our team of specialist Advisors have a chat with you about your business’ goals, the challenge you are looking to solve and what you are hoping to get out of the session. They’ll also speak to you about how much time you have to dedicate to the Sprint and the dates you and your colleagues are available.

    The Structure

    Our Advisors go away and work on how your Design Sprint will be structured. They’ll select the tools which will help you find a solution to your challenge and achieve your goals.

    The Proposal

    You will be sent a brief guide of what will happen during your ‘Sprint’, the tools and areas our Advisor thinks should be covered and a rough schedule of the days or week. This provides you with an opportunity to redefine your goals or tweak the session to make it perfect for your needs.

    The Sprint

    The Design Sprint takes place either in person or online using a platform called Miro. Our Advisor’s go through the tools with you and help you come up with solutions to your challenge. They facilitate discussions within your team and use their expert knowledge to help you succeed in developing your ideas and testing if they work.

    The Follow-Up

    At the end of the Sprint, you go home with the tools you have used and the notes you have made on Miro. These can be revisited in the future to check you are on track with your project and used to communicate to stakeholders.

    Our advisors will then follow up with a written sprint report, detailing what was covered, and future actions to implement.

    What are the Benefits of our Design Sprints?


    Our design sprints aren’t necessarily just for product development! Although this is the traditional application of design sprints, we’ve tailored our sprints so they apply to any kind of business challenge that requires collaboration and creative thinking.

    Team Building

    One of the greatest benefits businesses have highlighted from previous sprints is the opportunity to take time away from the office and bring together team members that usually don’t have the opportunity to work together.


    Sprints highlight the value of treating creative work separately from the usual day-to-day of a business. Where many challenges experienced in the day-to-day running of a business can take months to address, our sprints / development workshops are designed to create actionable solutions to move forward, quickly, and remove bottlenecks.

    Validate your Ideas

    Design sprints / development workshops provide a space for business to validate ideas and assumptions you have, whether it’s about strategy, customers, marketing.. anything!

    How do I Find Out More?

    Find out more about what Design Sprints involve and whether doing one is right for your organisation by talking to our Advisors.

    Via email or phone, have a no obligations chat with our friendly team who will be happy to answer your questions.

    Simply email or call us on 01953 859100

    For more on what we do at Hethel Innovation, visit our Business Support page


    01953 859100


    Hethel Engineering Centre

    NR14 8FB