What is a Design Sprint?

A design sprint is a five day process that enables a team to explore a specific problem through rapid prototyping and user testing.

It is an effective way to bring people from across an organisation together to develop a shared vision and gain insight quickly.

Using a timeboxed approach, conversation and activities are structured and organised, keeping the team invigorated and committed to solving the problem.

By the end of the sprint you will have a user validated prototype of your product or idea and will understand where to take it next.


Why do a Design Sprint?

  • Align your team
  • Generate results and actionable outcomes
  • Get unstuck
  • Create momentum
  • Decrease risk
  • Present findings to stakeholders or investors
  • Increase creative thinking and motivation

Outcomes of a Design Sprint

  • Redefine the problem that is blocking progress
  • Generate new solutions and opportunities
  • Engage key stakeholders
  • Rapidly test, evaluate and iterate ideas
  • Evidence for (or against) a new direction

Design Sprint deliverables

  • Lightweight report outlining agreed goals and recommendations on where to go next
  • Prototype that has been tested with users
  • Access to design files

Get ready for your Sprint

  • Decide which problem or opportunity to focus on for your Sprint
  • Select your team
  • Block out 5 days
  • Identify and invite your experts and key stakeholders for testing and feedback
  • Stock up on stationery

At the end of your sprint

Now you’ve found a new direction, it’s time to scale. We can help you build a proposal to make it big.

Based on the same principles as the design sprint Unboxed is experienced in scaling up innovations and product as well as supporting organisational change. We will continue lightweight testing and iteration to learn by doing with your team.

What people say about us

Dr. Toby Garrood | Consultant Rheumatologist | Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

“We've been able to identify the root of many of the problems we are experiencing: patients and doctors are not receiving the right information at the right time. We've now taken an approach to begin engaging patients further in the referral process by including them earlier in the process. Unboxed is working with us to do something differently — we're putting our patients first.”

Work with us

Design Sprint Structure

From identifying the problem on day 1 through to testing a prototype on day 5, Unboxed will work with the your team across the full design thinking process:

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Day 1: Define

Identify problems and areas of focus for the design sprint.

  • Deciding on our vision for the sprint
  • Identifying sprint questions that we need to answer
  • Mapping the user journey in the current process
  • Interviewing experts (who aren’t part of the sprint team) to gain additional insights
  • Choosing a valuable area of focus for the sprint
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Day 2: Ideate

Begin to focus on a range of potential solutions.

  • Exploring at how other organisations are solving similar problems to this (in different contexts)
  • Giving 3 minute lightning talks
  • Sketching concept ideas of possible solutions
  • Storyboarding a potential solution to the problems identified on day one
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Day 3: Decide

Decide which idea to take forward to meet the defined goal.

  • Hosting a ‘Gallery’ to present the ideas to subject matter experts and other key stakeholders for feedback
  • Prioritising ideas based on feedback
  • Deciding which idea to take forward to the prototyping phase
  • Creating a storyboard to following for day four
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Day 4: Prototype

Take the storyboard and prototyping to a first concept.

  • Designing, creating and preparing a clickable prototype that can be use to test with our users on day five
  • Creating a user testing script, deciding on testing pairs, setting up the testing environment and reviewing the prototype
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Day 5: Test

Test the sprint prototype with end users to gather feedback and steer direction.

  • Conducting user testing sessions with 5 users, allowing them to interact with our prototype
  • Team captures insights and gathers feedback
  • Defining next steps, based on the sprint outputs

Looking for something else?

Not sure a Design Sprint is what you need right now but still looking to align your teams and make an impact this year? Not a problem, Unboxed offers a variety of services that can cater to your goals and innovation projects.

More about Design Sprints

What kind of challenges can Design Sprints solve?

Design sprints can help you in two ways.

  1. They are great for getting ‘unstuck’. Sometimes long projects are struggling to meet their targets, design sprints are a rapid and creative environment to consider alternative approaches or solutions.
  2. They can also help you explore and decide on new directions, seeding new projects or programs.

How much does a Design Sprint cost?

The cost for a 5-day design sprint is £25,000 ex. VAT

What are the benefits of hiring Unboxed to run the sprints for us?

Having external facilitators creates space for everyone at your organisation to participate and removes some of the barriers that can be in place due to hierarchy or organisational silos. Unboxed are experienced at creating the right environment and coaching groups through the design sprint process, having done this in businesses, charities and government.

Who should be involved in the Design Sprint?

We recommend a core team of 5 people (but it can be more or less). They will take part in every day of the process. They do not need to be experts in design or development but should be familiar with the context of the problem or opportunity space.

It will also be necessary to find experts, key stakeholders and users to speak to during the sprint. When planning your design sprint we will help you identify and arrange this involvement.

How will the Design Sprint be facilitated?

It will either be in-person or online. Our experience of hybrid sprints is that they do not allow equal participation which is unsustainable for the intensity of the sprint. It is possible for set days to be remote and set days in person (for example two remote days and three in person). We can discuss any arrangements when we plan your sprint.

Does everyone need to be involved in the full 5 days?

As much as possible the core team should be available in all 5 days. Design sprints pack a lot in and there isn’t time to recap extensively. We find you get the most out when the whole time is protected allowing individuals to be immersed in the problem or opportunity and not distracted by business as usual.

What if I want to develop the full product after the sprint?

We are able to work with you to build investment pitches or reports and then support ongoing development and design.

Past projects


Unlocking a new digital learning revenue stream - a shift to digital

Plymouth University

Increasing student conversion rates with a brand new website

People looking at a wall of postit notes

A user-centered approach to improving key NHS services