As the business world adapts to an era of hybrid work, companies are learning how to effectively foster collaboration across remote and in-office teams. To operate effectively in this new reality, teams must develop creative ways to bring new thinking to life when colleagues are spread across the country, or even the world. Fostering that collaboration is critical to ensuring firms can act in a nimble fashion, able to seize new opportunities and stave off potential threats as they arise.
Metis Strategy frequently uses design sprints as a way to foster collaboration and idea generation among teams. Traditionally, design sprints occur in person. Several people get together in the same conference space to map customer journeys, illustrate design concepts, and paste Post-It notes around a large whiteboard to generate new ideas. In a remote or hybrid setting, however, not everyone is physically in the conference room, making it tougher to quickly sketch a concept or add an idea to the board.
The Metis Strategy team has found that effectively conducting a remote design sprint requires a different approach and a new set of skills to ensure the exercise runs smoothly. For a recent client engagement, our team built and facilitated a five-day, fully remote design sprint. We brought together employees from across the US to develop a tangible solution to a challenge facing the team. Each day was designed to get the team thinking creatively and engaging with the problem at hand, including understanding the challenge, deciding on long-term goals, and mapping user experience, and prototyping a solution that could be tested on a target audience. In this instance, virtual whiteboarding tools (we used Miro) became a critical for facilitating a successful sprint.
Below are a few takeaways from our experience that can help teams that are conducting their own remote or hybrid design sprints:
While a remote design sprint doesn’t deliver the same experience as an in-person session might, we found it to be an effective framework for collaboration and idea generation. As hybrid work takes hold at many companies, we expect sprint facilitators and their teams to be increasingly fluent with virtual whiteboarding tools as they manage collaboration across virtual and in-person settings.