Sprint_Jake_Knapp_v1.1While mentoring and coaching digital health start-ups, I have come across some business models and products that are just a bit “off.”  By “off”, I mean they may not have fully thought about how the customer would use their product or service – a poor product-customer fit.  In some cases, they are targeting B2C when they should be going B2B.  Why does this happen?  In one particular case, I was working with a team of men engineers who were trying to fit their technology into a baby wearable.  They did not have women fully represented on their team!  Such incidences such as forcing a tech/product on a customer results from a general gap in understanding of the customers and their buying process/decision making.  What I have found helpful in coaching such teams is to go through a Sprint process with them.  Based on the book by Jake Knapp from Google Ventures, Sprint is a rapid prototyping and learning process to help start-ups and innovative companies fill their knowledge gaps in the white-space.  The true power is in engaging with potential customers and truly listening and learning from their feedback.  Through this Sprint, teams can then fine-tune and course correct their products and services.

Click here to download the slide in PDF..  If you would like to get the PPT, just email me at info@strategyppt.com and I’ll send it to you in less than 24 hours.  As always, I recommend you purchase the book and read it in detail.  You can get it here at amazon.


In addition, Jake wrote an awesome blog post (click here for full post) about why the Sprint process works better than traditional Group Brainstorming.  I have excerpted it here in the table below:

Brainstorm Problem Sprint Solution
Shallow ideas from the group.  In a group brainstorm, ideas are shouted out loud, rapid fire. The goal is quantity, with the assumption that there will be diamonds among the coal. But details matter, and good ideas require time for deep thought. Detailed ideas from individuals. In a sprint, each individual considers several approaches, then spends an hour or more sketching their solution. In the end, there are fewer solutions than in a group brainstorm, but each one is opinionated, unique, and highly detailed.
Personality outshines content. If somebody has a reputation for being smart or creative, their ideas are frequently overvalued. And a group brainstorm can be a nightmare for an introvert. Charismatic extroverts who give great sales pitches often dominate. Ideas stand on their own. The sketches in a sprint don’t have the creator’s name on them. And when we critique them on Wednesday, the creator remains silent and anonymous, saving any sales pitch until after everyone else has given their opinions.
Groupthink. The collaborative, encouraging environment of a brainstorm feels good, but often leads teams to talk themselves into watered-down solutions. Opinionated decisions.  In a sprint, decisions are made by one person: the Decider. With the Decider in the room making all the calls, the winning solutions stay opinionated.
No results.  Worst of all, brainstorms result in a pile of sticky notes — and nothing else. It’s a loose methodology to begin with, and there is no map to get you from abstract idea to concrete implementation. A prototype and data, every time.  The sprint process requires your team to build a prototype and test it. By the time you’re done, you have clarity about what to do next.

As usual, don’t just take it from me, check out Jake Knapp in his own words as he speaks about the Sprint Process.

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