• Lonneke Boonzaaijer

Deep diving into the 'Strategy Design Sprint'

Companies have come to us with the request to help them with creating their strategy (internally / externally) to communicate their company mission, vision and strategy for the future. Just sending a memo doesn’t cut it anymore these days. Further, they wanted to communicate this in a way that the reader could interact with this strategy and future vision. In order to adopt it as if it were ‘their own’ and are eager to embrace, instead of just being a one-way stream of information. We have created the ‘Strategy Design Sprint’ program that uses the basics of the Design Sprint format, but it also includes other tools, strategic business design, road mapping and an action-plan to create and implement the new strategy. The outcome is a communicable and interactive visualization of the strategic mission and vision for the future.


So why do we still call this a Design Sprint then?

Normally in companies when they focus on forming a new business strategy or future vision, there is no strict framework to do this. The process might be a bit chaotic or doesn’t have a clear outcome. It might be just a statement for a long-term vision, but does not really actualize this with a plan of action.


Therefore we used the Design Sprint format as a basis to create this strategic future vision with elements from other methodologies and combined it with the hands one Design Sprint approach, to bring the best of both worlds together.


As a former lean startup coach and innovation strategist, I can tell from hands on experience that the word ‘strategy’ sounds very powerful, but not everybody actually knows what it means. Therefore the outcome of strategy sessions are always a bit vague and not on-point.

Through this program, we aim to pinpoint and visualize the strategic vision for companies and make them actionable for everybody involved.


So what is ‘strategy’?

1. A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/strategy


2. The art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use. The term is derived from the Greek word for generalship or leading an army. Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategy.html


So how come that most strategy sessions –and plans are not getting actualized? Because a vision in theory sounds very nice, but how to ‘get there’ in practice is a whole different ballgame. It needs involvement, enthusiasm, a shared ambition and a clear and measurable goal. It needs to be able to be actualized, felt and experienced.


Especially the first sentence in statement 1 already sums it up quite well:

·     It needs to be a plan ‘of action’, not just a plan, it needs to be actionable.

·     It needs to be ‘designed’ in order to reach a certain purpose.

·     It needs to achieve the ‘aim or goal’ over a certain amount of ‘time’.


So where to start?

In a normal Design Sprint we start off directly with the ‘aim’ or long-term goal with regard to creating a new product, service or concept. In contrast to a normal Design Sprint we don’t start at the end, but really go back all the way to the beginning of why the company was founded, what its core values are and what the company is contributing to the world.

This is our starting point of our strategy sprint; “Why do we exist? What do we want to achieve and why? How do we create value for whom in this process?

So time to get to the 'Strategy Design Sprint' program!


The ‘Strategy Design Sprint’ program


Monday: Canvassing

This is the starting point of the sprint. After a short introduction presentation of the decision maker about the company, history and future ambitions, we start off with looking for companies with a clear goal, vision and strategy. We look for what we can use or learn from. Afterwards we use this inspiration to create our mission & vision statement and take a deeper look into the SOAP canvas, a very easy tool to map your strategy on just one page.


10:00 – 10:15 Introductions & explanation of the program

10:15 – 10:30 Short background presentation from the decision maker

10:30 – 11:30 Looking for inspiring company missions, visions & strategies (individual)

11:30 – 12:00 Pitching inspiring strategies & sharing what we can learn

12:00 – 12:30 Mission & vision statement canvas (individual exercise)


12:30 – 13:00 Sharing statements & dot voting

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 14:30 Creating 1 mission & vision statement from winning votes

14:30 – 15:00 Stating the core values & future value for the customer

15:00 – 15:30 The SOAP canvas (individual exercise)

15:30 – 16:00 Discussing the individual statements with the team

16:00 – 16:15 Dot voting

16:15 – 16:30 Super vote

16:30 – 17:00 Creating final SOAP canvas with winning statements



https://soapmodel.com/2017/11/27/soap-canvas/


Tuesday: Expert interviews

After creating all definitions of the mission & vision statement and the SOAP canvas, we want to see how this resonates within the company and ask for critical feedback. Therefore we interview 5 experts in their own field within the company, and ask for their input on it.


10:00 – 10:15 Recap of day 1 & sharing the program for day 2

10:00 – 10:45 Interview #1 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

10:45 – 11:00 Discussing feedback with team

11:00 – 11:45 Interview #2 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

11:45 – 12:00 Discussing feedback with team

12:00 – 12:45 Interview #3 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

12:45 – 13:00 Discussing feedback with team

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 14:45 Interview #4 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

14:45 – 15:00 Discussing feedback with team

15:00 – 15:45 Interview #5 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

15:45 – 16:00 Discussing feedback with team

16:00 – 16:30 Dot voting on the most critical notes of feedback

16:30 – 17:00 Integrating the ‘winners’ in the mission & vision statement and SOAP canvas.

*What is a feedback grid?

The feedback grid is a grid, made with whiteboard markers on 3 horizontal sheets of magical white papers or a huge white board, like in the picture. (It should cover a whole wall). In the top columns you write down the titles for a specific sections of the mission & vision statement canvas and the SOAP canvas. On the left side, in each row, you write down the names of the experts. Then we use 3 colors of sticky notes; pink, green and orange (or yellow). On the pink notes we capture negative input / learnings / adjustments we need to make. On the green notes we capture the positive or confirming notes we hear from the experts. On the orange notes we capture suggestions, tips and general comments (neither good or bad).



Wednesday: Roadmapping

After the second day we have a clear understanding of the mission, vision and core values, either old or newly created. We now have a clear focus and aim and it's time to design the road on how to get there and create it into reality. We visualize this by creating a detailed roadmap. This roadmap includes all the steps we have to take in order to reach our future goal. In contrast to the normal map in a design sprint, the strategy roadmap is very detailed and can include concrete milestones, actions, and involvement from parties in certain areas in the map. The final roadmap is a blue print of the interactive visual strategy, which we will build on the 4th day.


10:00 – 10:15 Recap of day 2 and sharing the program for day 3.

10:15 – 10:45 Reviewing insights from day 2 & final statements in canvasses (individual)

10:45 – 13:00 Sketching the roadmap (individual)


* In contrast to the sketching session of the 3-pane sketch in a normal design sprint, in this sketching session, every individual receives a magic white sheet and a white board marker. And if necessary more sheets, depending on the detail in their roadmap.


13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break


14:00 – 14:15 Reviewing all individual roadmaps

14:15 - 14:30 Dot voting on winning designs & details of the individual roadmaps

14:30 - 17:00 Designing the final roadmap (group activity)


Thursday: Designing the interactive & visual roadmap

10:00 - 17:00

On Thursday we design the interactive and visual roadmap of our mission, vision and strategy. This can be done like creating a prototype, through visual design and made clickable through invision or marvel for example. Due to NDA, I unfortunately can not share any examples, however, if you are interested to see how this looks like you can send me a PM and I will show you some examples of these strategy roadmaps in a video call.


Other things we need to take care of on this day are:

·     Arranging interview candidates

·     Prepping the interview room

·     Assist the designers with content & copy

·     Every 2 hours we have a short stand-up where the designer shares the progress and the team provides feedback.


Friday: Testing!

Friday is all about testing.

At the end of the week you’ll have a clear interactive visual strategy, with an aim, mission and vision, and most of all made actionable. It can be shared and is visibly presentable and understandable to everyone in your company. Through the detailed roadmap, you have now also a clear understanding of the final goal, and all the step before that how to get to your goal. 


10:00 – 10:15 Getting the team ready for the first interview

10:00 – 10:45 Interview #1 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

10:45 – 11:00 Discussing feedback with team

11:00 – 11:45 Interview #2 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

11:45 – 12:00 Discussing feedback with team

12:00 – 12:45 Interview #3 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

12:45 – 13:00 Discussing feedback with team

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 14:45 Interview #4 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

14:45 – 15:00 Discussing feedback with team

15:00 – 15:45 Interview #5 (team captures insights in the feedback grid)

15:45 – 16:00 Discussing feedback with team

16:00 – 16:30 Collecting and prioritizing most important insights

16:30 – 17:00 Writing down the next steps to take with regard to updating the strategy roadmap or to adjust the steps within the roadmap.


It's a wrap!


If you have any questions about the 'Strategy Design Sprint' or want to know more, please send me a PM. I am happy to explain it in more detail, or assist with your first 'Strategy Design Sprint' at your company.


Innovative regards,

Lonneke Boonzaaijer

The Sprint Agency / www.thesprint.agency / contact@thesprint.agency / +31 6 46 89 26 76

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