When it comes to deciding on an idea, we all know all too well how messy it can become. Generating ideas is fun but deciding on the best one, sometimes not. It’s also because there are human emotions at play. Sometimes, a battle of merits becomes a battle of egos, where the loudest voice tends to win.

In a design sprint, there is a structured way to get this done. It won’t totally eliminate friction, but it will bring order to the chaos and ensure a decent design is chosen. …


What is the Crazy Eights?

Crazy 8s is an ideation technique that removes overthinking, in the hope of unlocking your subconscious. It is a fun group activity — that’s why they call it crazy. Basically, you’re sketching 8 solutions in 8 minutes, allowing 1 minute for each iteration. There’s little time to think, contemplate and second guess. And there are no drawing skills required for this, as long as people can understand your idea.

It is a design sprint method, typically done on Day 2, when you’re heavily brainstorming. …


What is the Lightning Demo?

The lightning demo is a structured “show and tell” group session to gather ideas and inspiration. Participants will share visual inspiration and big ideas in a timed exercise, usually done on the second day of a design sprint. This gives you a wide range of concepts to choose from when you attempt the next activity of the sprint, solution sketching.

Because the lightning demo is a fun way to ignite creativity, you can do it as a stand-alone exercise with your team. …


Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the utmost sophistication.”

For anyone who has designed products, you would know how difficult simple is. Luckily, there are hundreds of problem-solving methods available today that you can choose from. One such is the “How Might We” (HMW) technique, a faithful arsenal in the design thinking principles and a stalwart in the design sprint process.

It’s a simple exercise, but one that can stretch your imagination. It’s fun and made for group exploration.

What is the HMW technique?

The HMW exercise is one of the early steps to designing a solution. You need a problem statement or a…


Remote design sprints

Working life, as we used to know it, has been reworked by Covid-19. Whether it is for the good or bad, the post-Covid world means remote work is here to stay. And that means altering the way we do business and run things.

As an advocate and facilitator of design sprints, I’m fairly sure that remote sprints will be an alternative, if not the norm, for years to come. In my opinion, face-to-face workshops will always give more value because you get more from real-life social interaction. …


Empathy is a valuable skill to have, no matter what profession you are in. It’s the ability to emotionally understand and imagine yourself in someone else’s place.

When designing and building products, empathetic behaviour is almost a requirement. It’s how you start building human-centred products. Product managers, designers and developers need to be able to put themselves in the users’ shoes. There are many methods to do this, and one popular technique is called empathy mapping.

What is empathy mapping?

Empathy mapping is a brainstorming method that lets you explore deeper into your users’ minds and feelings. It is best done as a group…


What is a user journey map?

A user journey map is a visual timeline that shows what a user goes through to accomplish a goal. It gives an overall view of the scenario and actions at every touch point. If you want a more detailed map, you can also add the users’ emotions, pain points and motivation throughout the map.

The term user journey map is interchangeable with customer journey map. Each map is associated with only one user persona. A simple user journey map can look like this:

User: Tim, 30, Journalist
Scenario: Wants to buy a Moleskine journal

Simple user journey
Simple user journey

Why create user journey maps?

1. Improve the user experience

We create user journey maps to…


What is a user persona?

A user persona is a representation of your target users or customers. Personas are not created out of thin air but are based on research and relevant data.

It is a semi-fictional character who is a summary of your customer or a subset of your customers with similar demographic, goals, behaviour, interest, and motivation. It won’t be an entirely accurate portrayal of them, but somewhat close enough to build products for.

You can have multiple user personas for a product. …


A design sprint goal is like the compass towards a solution, setting the direction that everyone agrees to take. It lays the first layer of remedy to your problem. A badly written goal can ruin your solution, and a great one can form a bulls-eye solution.

Goal setting is always done early on in Day One, after the introductions, rule setting, and sprint briefing. You’ll do it in two stages: establishing the goal, and then questioning the goal.

To establish the goal, you need the pre-flight items. These are the research, data, and results you collected before the design sprint…


Many great products started from a simple vision. It’s that a-ha moment, the bright spark or epiphany that propels you towards building something bigger than yourself. But what is a product vision, and do you really need it? After all, in this agile world, isn’t everything figured out on the fly? And weren’t some of the best inventions created by accident?

In this article, I will explain what a product vision, mission, strategy, and roadmap is, their importance and how they connect to each other. Each make up an essential building block that cements the foundation of a great product…

Alvin Hermanto

Family first // Principal @relabstudios // Customer-obsessed digital design agency // Design sprint advocate // Melbourne // Say hello @alhermanto

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