• Chris Calderaro Correa

Lean Start-up meets Design Thinking

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Author: Sindhuja Pavuluru

When you visualize and draw an organizational chart do you picture it in a hierarchical way? For example, managers below senior managers? I definitely did and I bet you did too! This is a common approach, and even with the new education systems providing knowledge on modern agile organizational systems trying to push this waterfall hierarchy, it is a blueprint that is engraved in our minds.

This approach can be very harmful to the organization as the process to get your “idea” to the next stage of “prototype” and “testing” in the market would be time-consuming, with the hurdles that come with hierarchical approach-like delays in getting approval to move from one step of the process to another with the communication gaps between silos.

So, how do we overcome this? Here comes the BIG reveal...

Jake Knapp at Google Ventures created an amazing methodology called “Design Sprints” which is a powerful combination of “Lean start-up methodology” and “Design Thinking”. It is used by all start-up’s at Google Ventures and is a success model that is an efficient, time and cost-saving way to understand what is that end prototype which works for the customer; and this process is highly efficient as it breaks all barriers of organizational structure. Here, the CEO of the start-up, engineers, and other employees work together in one area and craft, debate over the hypothesis, create prototypes and test them in small target populations.

Lean start-up methodology focuses on “efficiency” whereas Design Thinking’s focus is towards a “customer-centric approach”. The area where these two methodologies meet is at the “IDEA OF ITERATION”

Both the leaders; who guided many organizations which comprised of start-ups, MNCs (Multinational Corporations) and public domains; had a similar comment that there is reluctance to this crucial process of iteration as employees do not have a structure and timeframe.

Hence, to simplify this, Jake came up with Design Sprints that come with a time frame. It is a concept that efficiently enables organizations to iterate ideas, prototype, and test it in a 5-day span. So, practically in a week, the organization will have feedback on a potential billion-dollar market launch product!

Dear future Hult Entrepreneurs read this simple 5 step Design Sprint model used by all start-ups at Google Ventures for your success!

Monday: Unpack the Problem

-Agree to a long-term goal

-Map the challenge you are facing

-Pick your target audience

Tuesday: Sketch it on Paper

-Focus on solution

-Sketch – critical thinking over artistry

-Recruit test population for Friday’s prototype

Wednesday: Decide and Agree on the Hypothesis

-Now you have many solutions from all individuals. Decide which one is the best solution to achieve long term goal.

-Draw them on a storyboard in a clear step-by-step approach for building prototype.

Thursday: Build Prototype

-Take the storyboard and create a prototype mindset. You can build a façade!

-Create interview script for testing the prototype with a test population on Friday

Friday – Big Day!

-Testing the prototype that you have built in a week and observe the interview.

-Learn how they respond to your prototype and pay attention to the feedback!

Productive week! The big challenge we started off on Day 1 is now turned into a solution in just 5 days with a prototype of a Minimum Viable Product which has been developed and tested just within a week’s span. This speed of work helps the organizations get an idea on what customers need, and how we can cater to their needs effectively. Also, based on feedback you can either proceed with product-launch or go back to the process of iteration to make a meaningful product that a customer needs.


· YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvFnHzU4_W8

· gv.com/sprint/