Category Archives: design thinking

The typology of Design Sprints

In this talk from ProductTank San Francisco, Kai Haley (Lead of Design Relations and the Google Sprint Master Academy) and Burgan Shealy (UX Design Lead at Google) share insights into what are the different types of design sprints, and various ways they can be crafted to meet a team’s goals and needs.

At its core, a design sprint is a tool for answering a critical business question through design prototyping and testing with users. The goal is to ensure that you are building the right things for your customers.

What Kinds of Problems can you Solve With a Design Sprint?

This process can be applied to many different needs, from generating a vision for a new product, or redesigning a specific feature or flow for an existing product, to improving a process or defining a brand.

A design sprint can allow the team to take a fresh look at a wide landscape of possibilities, discover and prioritize different solutions to a problem in a fast, iterative way. When possibilities seem too wide to move forward, a sprint can help prioritize and test out what one of the directions might look like “in action”.

Design Sprint Types

In this talk you’ll learn about four different sprints and hear examples on how Google uses them to solve critical problems for companies like Headspace, Google Home Services, Baewindow, or for non-profit companies such as Doctors Without Borders or Tangerine Tutor.

The Typology of Design Sprints at ProductTank SF

  1. Product Sprint – this is one of the most popular methods, and is used to solve challenges like improving the onboarding experience for new users, identifying critical user journeys to understand breakpoints, or generating and testing ideas for new features in order to increase engagement.
  2. Process Sprint – this method can be used to improve the process for hiring new employees, define the process for rolling out a new tool, or simplify the process for approving new project.
  3. Vision Sprint – a fun and creative way to solve critical problems such as: creating a vision to help homeowners fix problems in their home, defining a new product offering for two years from now in IoT, exploring opportunities around the needs of children and technology.
  4. Moonshot sprints – these give you the opportunity to innovate and reimagine your product or service, helping you to make space to explore something that might not necessarily be on your roadmaps. You may be re-imagining how people shop for food, exploring ways to build customer loyalty, or even discovering new models for monetization.

Whatever your challenge is, these methods are a great toolbox you can use and adjust to meet your needs. They allow you to look at a problem with 360 degree view, get alignment for your product & business perspective, and bring your team together to determine where you want your product to go in the future.


Specialized Training Course in Accessibility and Inclusive Design in Portugal

The School of Architecture of the University of Minho (EAUM) promotes once again the specialized training course in Accessibility and Inclusive Design. This specialized training course aims to answer to the challenges of the current market, increasingly sensitive to the problems of the elderly or disabled.

Providing an update of the contents and examples of good practices on accessibility and inclusion in the design of spaces and products. The concept of inclusive design promotes the development of solutions that improve the lives of all people, regardless of their abilities or condition, benefiting everyone as it consider new requirements and generally translate into innovative solutions.

The specialized training course, scheduled to begin on April 13, for a period of 12 weeks, will take place on Friday afternoons at the Azurém Campus of the University of Minho, Guimarães.

Application DEADLINE: MARCH 21


For further information, please contact us through email or phone +351253510500


Nike Circular Innovation Challenge: Design with Grind!


The goal of this Challenge is to find innovators who can use Nike Grind materials, such as fiber, foam and rubber, to create products that help improve the lives of the people who use them, while reducing global waste.


The Challenge officially launches —February 27, 2018.
Final proposals will be due by May 1, 2018. (DEADLINE)
Winning solutions will be announced in July, 2018.
Winners will be considered for further partnership with Nike and receive a prize of up to $30,000.

Design Ops — A New Discipline

Like all new terms, it’s a way of describing an emerging set of activities and behaviours. These activities aren’t necessarily new; we’ve been practicing elements of Design Ops since we created our first design system and modular code library way back in 2008. So it would be easy to balk at the term, seeing it as little more than an unnecessary buzzword. That’s not my reaction.

While many in our industry dislike the use of terms like UX Designer, Interaction Designer and Product Designer, preferring to drop the qualifier in favour of the more generic Designer, I find the specificity useful. I personally believe in the power of language to encapsulate complex concepts into a small and sharable package, making them accessible to a much wider group of people. The creation of new terms like Design Ops allows for the democratisation of these emerging ideas.

So what exactly is ‘Design Ops’ then?

Well, as the name suggests, Design Ops is somewhat related to the field of DevOps, which started gaining traction in our industry towards the end of the last decade. Back in 2008, there was often a separation between the people who wrote the code and the people who looked after the infrastructure it was deployed on. As agile started to take hold, and continuous delivery became the norm, this gap started to narrow. In order to increase the speed of delivery, teams required multi-disciplined individuals who could bridge the gap between the production environment and the server, allowing their code to be deployed faster and more efficiently. DevOps was born, and over the last decade, the field has gone from a few talented hackers to a profession with its own tools, techniques and culture.

The field of Design Ops is the result of a similar set of pressures. The rise of agile development has necessitated much tighter integration between design and technology, while recent investment in design — most notably by the big five tech companies — has highlighted the need to figure out how to deliver design at scale. Design Ops is essentially the practice of reducing operational inefficiencies in the design workflow through process and technological advancements. In short it’s about getting design improvements in the hands of your users as quickly and with as little friction as possible.

At first, the effort was focussed on low-hanging fruit. The creation, maintenance, and socialisation of modular design systems and component libraries. These libraries helped encourage consistency, reduce waste, and allowed teams to produce work at a faster rate. The next big challenge was to fit these tools into the design and development workflow, which is why we’ve seen the creation of tools like React Sketch app by the talented Design Ops team at AirBnB. The other big challenge is how to reduce — or even remove — the distance between design and deployment. This is something we’ve been trying to solve with our own Fractal application, which aims to create a bridge between your design language and your technology stack.

It’s worth noting that while Design Ops and DevOps are the result of similar drivers, the practices are considerably different. DevOps obviously has a much stronger bias towards tools and server-based solutions, while Design Ops tends to focus more on the process and operations side of the equation. Some argue that the similarity in names is therefore confusing. I believe this similarity is actually part of its power.

Where does it work best?

While design is starting to get a seat at the table, it’s arguably still a highchair. It’s vital for designers to use every political tool at their disposal. In most organisations, IT has a much bigger voice, and holds more influence than design. This is partly due to the maturity of the field, partly due to the larger head counts in IT, and partly due to the budgets they command. Pitching your language and values to a sympathetic technology department makes a lot of sense. After all, if your CTO understands the value of DevOps, how could they possibly not see the value in Design Ops? Especially when Design Ops will make the lives of their tech teams infinitely less messy and more productive.

It’s worth noting that Design Ops isn’t for everybody. It’s definitely not required at most agencies or single-product companies that do a redesign every 3-4 years. But if you work in a relatively large design team, inside a company that practices agile development and continuous integration, there may be an opportunity for you here. In these environments, the practice of Design Ops often emerges from a single individual — somebody who has noticed inefficiencies in the current system, and has hacked something together in their own time to reduce repetition. Either that or it’ll emerge from the design language team, as they remove the friction and pain points slowing down adoption.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to deliver design at scale, investing in a small Design Ops team will help you deliver better work. Who wouldn’t want that?

How do you see the role of Design Ops influencing the delivery of design at scale? We’d love to hear from you – tweet us @andybudd and @clearleft

Original article at

Beyond Change with Design

Beyond Change:
Questioning the role of design in times of global transformations
Swiss Design Network Summit
March 8–10, 2018
FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel

With keynotes by Benjamin Bratton, Cheryl Buckley, Beatriz Colomina, Kenny Cupers, Kjetil Fallan und Ramia Mazé and Mia Charlene White, among many other speakers, and debating platforms by Decolonising Design Group, Depatriarchise Design, and Precarity Pilot.

Current discourse in design research, art, cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, and the social sciences is dominated by the much-debated concept of the “Anthropocene,” which claims that we are entering a new geological age determined primarily by the effects of human activity on the planet. It has been used to increase awareness of the negative influence of our actions on climate and the environment, and thus on the terms and conditions of our long-term survival. Against the backdrop of ongoing catastrophe and normalised crisis, the image of designers as problem-solvers and shapers of material-visual culture is constantly evoked. Designers are expected to come to the rescue and to draft speculative scenarios, construct artificial worlds, and develop smart solutions. In short: design is wielded as a catalyst for global change.

But isn’t this image of the designer as an omnipotent problem-solver itself problematic?

What if design is not the solution, but very much complicit in the problems it wants to solve?

At this point, we feel compelled to ask: How can design truly contribute to a more just society and sustainable forms of living without compromising bottom-up initiatives and marginalising the voices of those who are most directly affected?

Design cannot change anything before it changes itself. The conference “Beyond Change: Questioning the role of design in times of global transformation” is a critical response to the tendency of seeing global crisis first and foremost as a worldwide design competition.

How can we reimagine design as an unbounded, queer, and unfinished practice that approaches the world from within instead of claiming an elevated position?

How, for once, can we see design as a situated practice instead of turning it into the Global North’s escape and problem-solving strategy?

How can we think about one world without falling into planetary-scale thinking and the idea that resilience is our only hope?

Full Program:

Follow speakers at:

FIND THIS POST AT MY LINKEDIN (Designer Marcio Dupont)