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How to Accelerate innovation using design sprints

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“Be innovative. Go ahead, innovate. If you were waiting for an invitation, this is the closest thing you’re going to get. Well…?” And so begins the article Innovate with Design Thinking in The Ontario Broker Magazine. A lot of people can relate to being expected to innovate on demand without really knowing how

Innovation is universally challenging. RGAX Life Design Sprints are featured in the Innovation in Insurance issue of The Ontario Broker Magazine, a publication of IBAO, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario. Innovate with Design Thinking embraces our blog series on Life Design Sprints (you can catch up here) and includes an interview with Jonathan Hughes, design sprint facilitator and Vice President, Strategic Development at RGAX. 

[What follows is a summary, or highlight reel, of the piece, however you can also read the full article here.]

The article points out that few people know “how to innovate,” although they are often asked to do so. RGAX uses focused sessions to take teams through the process -- no experience required. 

The design sprint methodology created by RGAX is applicable across the insurance industry and around the globe. Like a successful dinner party “… design thinking workshops bring together people with diverse backgrounds and experience,” including high-level participants. It’s a universal solution to a universal problem: business innovation.

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The first steps of a Life Design Sprint involve diagnosing and articulating the problem through an iterative process led by the RGAX facilitator. The next step is “less of a brainstorm, more of a brainharvest.” Rather than favoring the loudest voices, which oftentimes can happen in brainstorming, the design workshop gets every person to contribute by mixing individual work with group work, where people vote with a “low-tech heat map” that finds the best ideas and unconventional solutions. But it doesn’t stop there.

With a solution decided, prototyping is next up, which reveals flaws and consumer pain points and delivers real-world feedback about the creation from users.

Jonathan offers his observations about the universality of this standardized innovation process: “We’ve run design sprints all over the world with diverse groups of people. But the thing that always surprises me is that, despite this variety, the emotional experience of the whole group always follows the same pattern: excitement initially at the challenge, frustration as we relentlessly focus on the problem, high creative energy when creating divergent solution ideas, laser focus as we build the prototype to a tight deadline, and the 'Aha!' moment when we get to see users with our creation.”

Working on a prototype and receiving feedback is a big deal. It saves a lot of costs and shakes out weak projects that might have wasted resources without the scrutiny.

“Every sprint we’ve done has delivered something of value,” Jonathan says. “Obviously, in the best case, the prototypes tests really well with end users and moves into production, but even when the test fails, the sprint process is structured so all ideas are captured in concrete, understandable form. You’re also guaranteed deep insights into how customers approach a business-relevant problem.”

Get the full story in Ontario Broker Magazine along with six tips on running a design thinking workshop.

Accelerating Innovation with Life Design Sprints - Contact Us

Written by: Megan Gardner