why innovation is important and how Design Sprint can help

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why innovation is important and how Design Sprint can help

Why innovation is important and how a Design Sprint can help
why innovation!
3 min
17 Jun. 2021

Our client, a global wealth management company headquartered in Hong Kong saw all the potential benefits of building a new application but were unsure of the best way to capitalise on the first-mover advantage. As they were also expanding their business to serve the consumer market, this new product was a shift in that direction.

They needed to innovate to tap into a new market and more importantly, deliver a product, fast. The speed was important because while the intent was clear, it wasn’t guaranteed that the product would be embraced.

For the client, adopting Agile was the logical choice, as it offered speed to market for a product which had some uncertainty.

The client hadn’t used this new way of working before and this product presented an opportunity to start their Agile transformation journey. Having spent much time planning, it was time to start implementing.

why innovation! was commissioned to support the team in three main areas:

Understanding the context and identifying challenges

Every client has their own organisational culture, ways of working and challenges to address. From our past experiences, we knew that a round spanner could not fit a square screw.  

To understand the problem, one must first understand the context. We had several discussions with multiple stakeholders to understand the vision from everyone’s point of view. During our initial discovery, we quickly discovered that there were several other challenges that would need to be addressed along the way, in addition to the initial brief.

Firstly, the leadership team were not aligned on a single product vision. Despite several discussions with the global team, there was still no clear direction regarding the product’s market positioning or a product vision that the team could work towards. Without this clarity, the team couldn’t move forward with this initiative.

Secondly, the organisation lacked cross department collaboration and communication. During our discussions with various stakeholders, it was evident that communication between the departments was limited.

The organisation had a siloed work culture which wasn’t conducive to Agile or innovation.  A significant organisation-wide mindset change was required for their Agile journey to be successful and from our experience, can be the most difficult aspect to address in any transformation.

Thirdly, like many other organisations, our client was also facing the challenge of effectively managing remote teams.

While remote working is the new norm, at the time of this project, the physical distance between teams was a contributing factor to the organisation’s misalignment.

Designing customised solutions

With an understanding of their current and desired state, we chose to propose the use of a Design Sprint – a five-day process developed by Google Ventures, for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers – in order to bring clarity to their vision of a new digital wealth management product and kick-start the development. It would also be a controlled first step for our client to embark on their Agile transformation journey.

The Design Sprint would be the quickest way to reach their desired state and obtain quick customer feedback in order to test underlying assumptions.

In addition, it would also help to achieve:

  1. Organisational alignment on the product vision
  2. A wide range of alternative solutions for the digital product to explore 
  3. A solution prototype highlighting the most valuable features of the product 
  4. Early indicators to ensure the right product-market fit
  5. A high-level product backlog and roadmap for development
  6. Cross department collaboration and communication 
  7. Introduce the team to a new approach in bringing products to market

Preparing for the Design Sprint

An ideal team for a Design Sprint comprises of approximately four to seven members. This ensures high quality involvement from all team members during the sprint. For this project, although we did manage to form a team of seven on paper, some of the team members were operating remotely and our key sponsor had to be flown over to Hong Kong in order to participate in the Design Sprint.

The team had to be cross-functional (a mix of business and technology roles) to ensure that the solutions brainstormed during the sprint came from different perspectives. For this project, we gathered stakeholders from various departments like Marketing, Operations, UX/UI, developers, Scrum Master and Product Owner.

A Design Sprint is fast paced. Once it starts, the fast-paced activities leave little time to gather additional external material to use as input. As mentioned before, our client had already conducted qualitative and quantitative research on the market.

Customer segmentation, customer personas and main challenges and pain points were already identified. Most of the background material was to be used on day one, to understand the context of the problem.

But this is not the end of the Design Sprint. A lot more work was prepared to be done over the five days.

To read the complete process from start to finish, including the results our client had at the end of the Design Sprint, download our FREE white paper now!

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