Sprints, not Marathons

How large companies can borrow processes to iterate and innovate like the world’s fastest technology companies.

The last 10 years have seen a number of technology startups transition from small disruptive teams into established global companies with thousands of employees. Companies such as Spotify, Netflix and Slack have experienced exponential growth, with the media frequently charting their progress through revenue, valuations or head count.

However, perhaps one of the most remarkable successes away from the numbers has been the ability of these companies to not only grow ‘big’, but to maintain an enviable cadence of innovation and iteration whilst doing so.

Working like a startup at scale

This decoupling of size and agility is particularly interesting for large organisations whose size may have led to corporate inertia.

Where previously bureaucracy and slow process was seen as the inevitable consequence of scale and success, ‘speed’ is now firmly on the agenda in many C-suites.

In particular, for those incumbent organisations who have already found themselves leapfrogged by quicker competitors, finding new ways of working at speed can’t come fast enough.

The Design Sprint

An example of the typical 5 day Sprint

Adapting the Sprint to solve big problems, quickly

At 383, we have also adapted the Design Sprint process to help large organisations (including British Gas, Hilton Worldwide and Jaguar Land Rover) hypothesise and validate new business models and product ideas. In our experience, one of the key reasons that the Design Sprint works within large organisations is because of its focus on isolating small teams around specific problems, and providing the framework and autonomy to prototype and test in a closed environment.

The process we have adapted is designed to work with the customer to validate a business opportunity first, before thinking about how (or if) we work with the business to assess the technology, governance or risk involved. Sprints are getting buy-in within the C-Suite too, as time and time again we are able to demonstrate that they help businesses explore some of their most important customer problems in a fast, efficient and collaborative way.

10 Minute Guide

We’ve written a 10 Minute Guide to how large organisations can adapt this process to work for them, and how to show your CEO how invaluable this could be.

You can grab your free download here.

If you’re interested in how the world’s most innovative companies adapt the design sprint process, you should attend Canvas, our annual product conference held on October 4th at the Birmingham Rep Theatre. This year you’ll be hearing from the likes of Dropbox, Booking.com and Labrador, amongst many more.