Design + Strategy

Using the "Sprint" Process to Test New Ideas Quickly

The design sprint is a 5-day intensive process for solving tough problems. This process has been helpful to our own internal process to enable us to put form to concepts quickly and rapid prototype ideas. Here at Crow & Raven, we are always coming up with new ideas, so we use this process often.

The process splits up the days of the week into 5 different steps.



Map out the challenge and pick a target


Sketch using the 4-step process. Crow and Raven find this step to be one of the most important assets. The 4-step process includes:

  1. This step includes identifying long-term goals, How Might We questions, new ideas, and old ideas. It is thought to be the easiest step and the goal is to get all your thoughts on paper to where you can identify the important ones later.
  2. This step includes filling up the paper with anything that comes to mind. This can include sketches, headlines, words, stick-figures, diagrams, photos, and even beginning wireframes. There is no wrong way to do this step.
  3. Also referred to as ‘Crazy 8’s’, this step gives you eight minutes to draw 8 different variations of the strongest ideas generated in the first two steps. Due to the fast-paced nature of this step, it forces you to think on your toes and outside of the box.
  4. This step is each person's best idea, put down on paper in detail. These sketches will be looked at and evaluated by others, so they should be clear and easy to understand. By critiquing the outcome of this step, we are able to improve upon our best ideas. Crow and Raven find this step the least useful in the process.
    • Gather Key Info - 20 min
    • Doodle Rough Solutions - 20 min
    • Try Rapid Variations - 8 min
    • Solutions Sketch - 30+ min


Critique solutions, create storyboards, plan for prototypes


Create realistic prototypes


User testing and further research


Following this process allows for strong progress in short amounts of time as well as constructive criticism and real time results. Seeing that we use this process often, there are a handful of pros and cons that we think are important to mention:


  • Allows for creativity
  • Allows for honest feedback
  • Quick results
  • Clarity of the project emerges in the beginning stages
  • Easy to follow and understand, organized
  • Enables the team to create a focus area and put form to concepts quickly


  • Some sections are not useful to us (ex: solutions sketch
  • We tend to focus heavily on material in the first two days and go from there, disregarding much of the second half of the process
  • It advises to not converse and share ideas until the end of the second day, but we enjoy sharing from the start, allowing for more constructive criticism, leading to substantial work
  • We tend to adapt to certain steps applicable to our process rather than following the 5 days exactly (more of a limitation than a con)

We found specific strategies useful to integrate into our existing process. We have yet to follow the 5-day sprint process in a chronological, step-by-step manner. However, our team will continue to evolve and utilize individual methods and strategies for our internal products and client projects.