By Salla Kuuluvainen
Last week I attended an event by Järjestöjen palvelumuotoilijat – Service Designers in Non-profit sector, an informal network by people who work in the NGO sector in Finland and are interested in service design. The event was organized by Kukunori, and organization that works with mental health and well-being.
The theme of the evening was Design Sprint and how that process can be used in the non-profit sector. Design Sprint process originates from Google, where it was developed by Jake Knapp, who now has his own agency GV. The GV site has great resources and videos regarding Design Sprints, and Jake Knapp’s book Sprint – Solve Problems and Test New Ideas in Just 5 Days gives a thorough explanation of the sprint process.
What Is a sprint?
I sprint, as I just learned in the event is a 5 day design process model that allows a team or company create and test new ideas fast, and within the 5 days arrive at a fairly well-developed concept. The GV website defines sprint as a ”five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.”
The sprint process in divided into days, which all have a specific outcome, e.g on Monday you start with defining a goal, learn more about the challenge and set targets, on a Tuesday you start to ideate solutions and recruit customers for testing, and so forth.
How Can You Use Sprint in Non-profit Organizations?
In the event we heard from three different kind of experiences with sprint: Milla Mäkinen told about their experiences in creating an inclusive strategy process for Kukunori, Saara Jäämies (also a service design student at Laurea!) told about experiences with using sprint in digital service design, and Nora Elstelä, Antti Haverinen and Hanna Jaakola told about their experiences with sprint process when starting a professional collaboration together.
Some takeaways from their experiences:
- The design sprint process as itself is not very inclusive, since the customers are only included in process in the very end. For example Kukunori took their different stakeholders as full co-creators from the start of their process in order to have a really inclusive strategy. Most non-profits would like to co-design with their stakeholders and ”customers”, so it is a good idea to modify the sprint process in this regard.
- When co-designing with a non-hierarchical collective, it’s good to take into account the Decider role in sprint process, who usually is someone in the company leadership, and does not necessarily participate in the whole sprint. Who makes final decisions in the process?
- The sprint in its original form is done in consecutive days, which can be difficult to organize in non-profit environments. Elstelä, Haverinen and Jaakola had experimented with a sprint which had some time days between the phases. They noticed that in this case it was important to use time in the beginning of each new sprint day to remember what happened the previous time, and use the same visualizations to help the memory.
- Saara Jäämies remarked that the tools and methods in sprint process are especially good since they allow people to work both independently and in a group, thus allowing for different kinds of personalities to work together productively.
As a final takeaway I really loved the Kukunori space and it’s interior decoration with all kinds of quirky fun ways to visualize their strategy process and different team dynamics – I was a little surprised to find such a cool innovation space in the rather bleak suburb of Malmi in Helsinki. Good job for the interior, Milla Mäkinen!