You don’t need to tell us about sprints, everyone’s sprinting. We’re all busy, that’s just life, right? Wrong. We’re talking specifically about innovation: tackling challenges and devising new products and strategies at speed.
Sprints involve exploring ideas and solutions in a short time frame, with a small team and agreed objectives. Sprints are ideal for tackling a big business challenge without wasting important resources
Sounds sensible. But are you sure this isn’t just some Silicon Valley fad?
Absolutely not… Except, well – Google’s parent company Alphabet did popularise the technique a few years back. Its GV venture capital investment arm created the Design Sprint – a five-day process designed to answer business questions through design, prototyping, and testing with customers. They describe it as a “superpower” that lets you “fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.”
We’d quite like to have superpowers. But how do sprints apply to companies outside of tech?
Sprints are being deployed regularly across sectors for strategy and product ideation. They are becoming increasingly popular because, pretty much universally:
– Everyone has less time
– Everyone has less money
– Everyone seems to have 10x the work to get done
Everyone needs to get better at what they’re doing – fast. And sprints are a great way to:
– Focus your team on a singular challenge
– Empower stakeholders to make better, quicker decisions
– Save potentially months of wasted time
Okay great, we get it. Is speed always the answer?
Not exactly, though it often feels like the focus. Yes speed is important. But effectiveness can be diluted in the face of an unfaltering focus on speed. We observe teams burning out and see significant compromises being made for the sake of pushing through to the next stage. Which is why we believe there is a better approach (sorry Google) – at least when it comes to using sprints within a large organisation, and particularly on longer term projects. So we created the HiiT Innovation system.
Any relation to HiiT training?
Okay… . yes. Like HiiT training, our HiiT Innovation systems involve short, sharp bursts of high impact, intense activity, with periods of active recovery in between. Our intensive workouts focus on flexing different business muscles, interspersed by short periods of active recovery when we test assumptions and explore hypotheses. The active recovery stage is essential to ensuring that we return to the challenge stronger as the journey evolves. It’s this combination of doing and thinking over a two-week period that will lead to sustainable innovation gains – versus innovating as fast as possible in 5-day bursts, Google-style.
How do your HiiT journeys differ from sprints?
Efficiency in innovation at a high level can only happen when your process is fit for purpose and flexible. Our workouts demand you bring only the most relevant people into the room, targeted on a specific challenge, using only necessary resources. This prevents mission creep and forces you to really interrogate the challenge at a granular level.
HiiT Innovation system is comprised of two sets of intensive workouts configured to your challenge. Just as HiiT training flexes different muscles with each burst, our diverse workouts focus on a different angle of your business challenge each day and range from future visioning, technology capabilities through to business model. Periods of active recovery are built-in after each workout set, during which time you will test and learn, explore hypotheses and build prototypes.
Okay. We get it. HiiT Innovation is about quality and timely speed?
Yes! HiiT is foremost about being smart. It’s about having the sense to modify and flex an approach popularised by a monolithic Silicon Valley giant to make it work for your project’s specific needs. Our approach takes your business context into account to deliver deeper, more insightful and actionable outcomes, while always looking ahead. Everyone wants a quick fix – but more often than not, innovation calls for a more sustainable solution. We know it evolves as your market and consumers do. And if you’re smart, you’re always playing the long game.
…But when should we use them?
Use them when you want to accelerate specific elements of your innovation journey and tackle the most pressing problems. The HiiT journey should complement your existing practices and hone your resources so everything is as efficient and unified as possible. And just like HiiT training, the sense of achievement will leave your team feeling energised, euphoric and optimistic about the future.
Want to know more? Get in touch to see how HiiT Innovation can help your business challenge: CharlotteS@happen.com