Design Sprints for Change Conference with Google Design

DSA Team

Date: April 2019
Location: Google London - Central Saint Giles
Sponsors: Google Design
Participants: Exclusive event

The Design Sprints for Change Conference, co-hosted by Design Sprint Academy and Google Design in London, was a gathering like no other. It brought together a diverse mix of professionals - executives, innovators, designers, consultants, and design sprint enthusiasts from various industries. This one-day event wasn't just about exploring innovation and organizational transformation; it was about diving deep into the world of design sprints.

Attending this conference was an eye-opening experience. It wasn't just the breadth of insights, connections, and inspiration that made it memorable; it was the palpable energy of collaboration and the shared ambition to stay ahead in our rapidly evolving business landscape.

The takeaway for attendees?
A richer understanding of how design sprints can be tailored to their industries and drive innovation within their organizations.

The speakers

The speaker lineup was nothing short of impressive. Leaders from Google, RGAx, Barclays, Idean Malmo, Mars, and even Innovation leaders from the Prime Minister's Office in the UAE took the stage. Their stories weren't just success narratives; they were lessons in cross-industry best practices.

  • Kai Haley, the Lead of Design Relations and the Google Sprint Master Academy, shared her inspiring story of how she applied her UX expertise to create monetization opportunities in Google search for the Search Ads Team. She talked about merging all the approaches into one that could be applicable to everyone, and how important it is to choose what fits your context and not to neglect Design Sprints.
  • Richard Verdin, Managing Director for RGAX in EMEA, shared their main problem of zero growth for mature markets, and how they transformed by introducing a repeatable, effective and predictable co-development plan based on Design Sprints. He also shared that the main challenge is "permafrost" people who are not believing in methodologies, and they are now very selective with people to involve.
  • Matt Lockyer, Head of experimentation at Barclays, discussed how design sprints were a good way to build API when he had no resources/people to develop the product. He talked about the importance of face to face and smoke testing to validate ideas for a bigger audience.
  • Ahmed Ghanim Al-Ali, Prime Minister’s Office UAE, shared that the rate of success of companies facing digital transformation is less than 10%, and they are still unsure what digital means for them. To understand what digital is, they started doing vision sprint + concept sprints, and they have 6 clear national priorities which lead to parallel vision sprints. They also emphasized the importance of evidence-based insights and data.
  • David Dahlenius & Alex Webb Alan, Lead Service Designer and Design Sprint Lead at Idean Malmo, shared how design sprints helped optimize the design process and align with clients. They talked about the importance of Problem Framing and real insights, and their main challenge of getting the right people in the room.
  • Holly May Mahoney, Service Design Strategist and Design Thinking advocate, discussed sprinting with purpose and finding solutions for big challenges like plastic pollution. She shared an inspiring case study from SAP Leonardo and emphasized the importance of starting with why, multidisciplinary craft, and following a good design process.

Embracing Change: Insights from the Expert Panel

The panel session at the Design Sprints for Change Conference was a highlight, featuring industry visionaries like Kai Haley, Ann Longley, Eleanor Barlow, David Dahlenius, and John Vetan. They delved into how design sprints facilitate sustainable change.

Key takeaways from the panel included the importance of aligning sprints with organizational goals and stakeholder needs, the role of design sprints in fostering collaboration and breaking down silos, and strategies for introducing sprint methodologies in risk-averse organizations. The panelists also discussed overcoming stakeholder resistance to change, managing the tension between the rapid pace of sprints and slower corporate processes, and the crucial role of leadership support in adopting sprints.

Their insights were not just informative but inspiring, showcasing how design sprints can be powerful tools for organizational transformation. The session underscored the importance of continuous learning and community support for design sprint facilitators, highlighting the transformative impact these sprints can have on organizations willing to embrace change.