Answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing
Addition have adopted and evolved the Design Sprint to help tackle customer experience, fundraising, product development, and other client challenges.

To sprint or not to sprint

A practical approach to Design Thinking
With decades of experience in strategy, planning, and creative, Addition is perfectly placed to advise organisations whether to opt for a traditional approach to their marketing or take a less travelled yet highly effective route.
Sprints originated in the US design thinking community and were adopted by Google as a framework to support both divergent thinking (creative brainstorming that results in multiple possible solutions) and convergent thinking (using defined, logical steps to arrive at one solution). The methodology has evolved over time and continues to be refined and tested by smart marketers in the UK who are now reaping rewards.

“We’re constantly talking about how to offer and conduct sprints in the context of what we know about our clients and the way they operate. Even people who might not initially have liked the idea of sprints say the results are amazing. They see a tangible result: from nothing to an outcome within five days.”

Cutting the chaff

Focussing client and agency teams
A Design Sprint is typically run in five stages, across three to five days, the process cuts the chaff from a standard marketing cycle. Client and agency teams focus with laser precision on meeting mutually agreed objectives quicker and, more often than not, cheaper.

Bringing together several senior figures at an organisation - often from across departments - to run a series of back-to-back sessions is no mean feat. But even sceptics and those who don’t like workshop settings benefit greatly.

The five phases

From nothing to outcome in five days
Understand - “Everyone gets to immerse themselves in the problem and gain a shared understanding,” says Dan Martin, Digital Strategy Director at Addition. The sprint group starts with the end, discussing objectives and nailing down questions to be answered throughout the process. This stage also features Ask the Experts: quickfire overviews from visiting client experts who drop in to offer their expertise and possible solutions. At the end of day one, a ‘map’ of the problem has been created and is often left on the wall of the sprint venue for all to consider.
Sketch - Sprint defined, participants follow a four-stage process to brainstorm all the ways in which the objective can be met. Stewart Sear, Digital Creative Director at Addition, explains: “Everyone has a chance to do their own sketching without other people, then put it on the wall. You work individually, drawing on the material from day one and ‘inspiration homework’ which we ask people to research between phases one and two.”

Decide - Now it’s time for the sprint team to collectively choose the idea they think will help them best meet the overall goal. Concepts are voted on individually without debate, and an appointed ‘decider’ – usually the most senior client attending – has the final say on which elements of all the ideas to prototype. Dan comments: “The decider ultimately has the right to choose the idea; it’s definitely not a democratic process, by design, because you need a decision that’s going to work.” The other major part of phase three is storyboarding: drawing out how the idea can work in practice.
Prototype - The hard work of the past few days becomes a reality. Routes to market are chosen, and participants are assigned roles to breathe life into the concept, ready for testing in real-world situations. “We explain the need to produce something realistic that people can try out, so it’s believable enough for them to tell you if it’s working or not,” Stewart says. “The approach doesn’t have to be digital. We explore whatever will work best.”

Validate - In other words, user testing. Five interviewees are asked for their views on the prototype. The interviews take place in a separate rooms, using a question script developed in phase four, while the rest of the team take notes. Dan adds: “There are a few different outcomes. Firstly, the prototype could be a roaring success, so the client should make it either themselves or with us. Secondly, maybe there are imperfections but the idea seems to work. At that point, we can loop back to the sketching phase and use those insights to come up with another prototype. Thirdly, the idea’s a failure and the user interviews prove customers aren’t bothered about something we all thought was a problem. But the great thing is you’ve only spent a week finding that out, rather than six.”

“Rapid productivity is a compelling idea. Sprints cover the same activity as traditional planning, but we concertina the process to get information quicker. The best thing is, colleagues work together perhaps more closely than ever before. Common objectives are discussed and met; everyone goes away with little insights and greater shared knowledge.”

“We use our experience to determine when to apply the sprint process. A sprint works best with a blank sheet of paper and a major step change as the objective. If you have barriers like an existing technology platform, or if you want to make something only a little bit better, it doesn’t really work. We just have to make a wise choice at the outset.”

Helping you Sprint

Evolving the process
Having run a number of Sprints, the team at Addition is currently exploring ways of taking sprints into other areas of the wider agency’s - WPN Chameleon - business as part of its suite of tools, as well as evolving the process for digital products and experiences.

We can facilitate the Sprint and provide the User Experience and Creative resources to be in the room to design the prototypes/creative outputs. We can also offer a technical resource if needed within the sprint.


Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more about how a Sprint might work for your fundraising, experience, or product idea. We also now run Sprint overview workshops so we would be happy to invite you to a future workshop. They are free for charities to attend.

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