8 Innovative Ways to Apply Problem Framing and Design Sprints in Business

January 18, 2024
Dana Vetan

Design Sprints, originally created at Google Ventures, were designed for startups to reduce risks and improve collaboration between design and product teams. After the "Sprint" book release in 2016, this approach gained widespread popularity. It's now used by large organizations in various fields, well beyond just product development.

At Design Sprint Academy, we've gained unique insights into how this methodology can be applied. Working with major brands, we've explored a range of uses, from process optimization to Design Sprint hackathons. Here are the top 8 scenarios where we've seen the significant impact of Design Sprints and Problem Framing:

  1. De-risk Product Development: By validating ideas early on, Design Sprints prevent resources from being wasted on the wrong projects, ensuring only the best ideas make it to development. With Problem Framing you will make sure you spent time on validating problems that matter for both the business as well as for the customer.
  2. Streamline the Innovation Funnel: Use Problem Framing to filter through numerous ideas in your innovation pipeline, ensuring alignment with business goals, followed by Design Sprints for rapid validation.
  3. Reboot Innovation Hackathons: Unlike traditional hackathons, this new approach starts with Problem Framing, leading to challenges that are more relevant to business needs. Mixed and inclusive hackathon teams use Design Sprints to create and test basic prototypes with real customers, yielding innovative and customer-focused outcomes.
  4. Sustainable Innovation: The Innovation Accelerator framework uses regular Design Sprints focused on key priorities set through Problem Framing workshops. This approach promotes a culture of ongoing innovation.
  5. Launch New Ventures: For organizations exploring internal startups or new products, Problem Framing and Design Sprints are invaluable. They guide the journey from identifying customer needs to achieving product-market fit.
  6. Kickoff External Partnerships: Problem Framing helps identify mutual interests in joint ventures, with Design Sprints aiding in co-creating and testing new ideas.
  7. Optimize Internal Processes: Identify key process bottlenecks using Problem Framing and address them with targeted solutions developed through Design Sprints.
  8. Boosting Collaboration: Elements of Design Sprints can be used in short workshops to improve team collaboration in various areas like empathy building and prototyping.

We discussed these methods' diverse applications in our first webinar this year. Check out the replay to learn more.


Design Sprints and Problem Framing aren't just methods; they represent a shift towards more dynamic, customer-focused, and collaborative work practices. As we continue to explore and expand their use, their potential to drive growth and innovation in business seems limitless.