Day 1 — Imagining the Finish Line Is Half the Battle
19 de May de 2021
19 de May de 2021
Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet. The ancient Latins already knew that “he who has begun is half done”. If you have an idea and, most importantly, the courage to imagine how that idea can be applied, then you’re ready to put it into action. Before setting out on a climb, mountain climbers already know the exact point where they want to arrive and the path they will follow as they go up. They spend days analysing the summit — that spot they will turn their eyes to when they want to clear their vision. This entails that —even if it sounds contradictory— getting started means already establishing the finish line.
Day 1 of a Design Sprint —usually a monday— is “mapping”. This means understanding the challenge, exploring and defining what we want to achieve and how to get there. This first step is crucial to get off to a good start, to find the right mood and to establish the team dynamics. It also lays the foundations and clears up what we’re going to be facing as well as the goal itself.
This is how the first stage of EAE’s Design Sprint was put into practice:
1- Start with the End.
One of the most useful exercises to carry out during the business creation process is imagining that everything you set your mind to goes exactly as you’ve planned it. The exercise “How would the ideal world be in two years time?” is based on the assumption that your product or service has changed the world — or a community, a company, a process.
This dynamic allows us to dream and broaden our horizon, but it also helps us align with our team. Nothing brings a team together more than working towards the same goal and, more so, if we share with it our principles and values as a person.
2- “How Might We…?” The Challenge Map.
In order to launch our idea into the future, after having dreamt it there as a reality that transforms its environment, we have to establish what the challenge will be. For this, we must create a problem map following the “How Might We?” structure.
The HMW? lets us see, from different perspectives, the problems that the potential clients of our business ecosystem will face. Lorena Niño and Nicole Milla —students of the Master in Customer Experience and Innovation and participants of the Design Sprint— used HMW? to establish their project ‘Recycling the Industry’: a project that seeks to help small businesses in the Hospitality Industry in Bogotá, Colombia, to reduce costs of waste management in their business while keeping a low and controlled environmental impact. How could we help restaurant owners to spend less money on their waste management processes?
How could we measure the environmental impact of correct/incorrect waste management in a restaurant? These are some of the questions that came up along the way.
3- Seek Those who Know. Ask without Fear.
For Nicole and Lorena, the most valuable answers regarding these questions must come from the actors involved. During the Experts’ Opinions exercise, they were able to talk to several important actors that gave them valuable insights and tools to better understand the market.
During the 15 minutes that this exercise lasts, teams exchange opinions with the chosen ecosystem experts in order to understand their vision on the set goal. Facing real problems and challenges nurtures our point of view and helps to identify concrete worries to address them in the upcoming sessions.
4- We All Play Here.
Feeding back internal talent —getting that chemistry as high as possible— is as important as analysing the environment and its actors. Debating with team members is crucial — putting forward the knowledge of the sector or industry and any relevant point that could get you closer to understanding the situation that the people experience in the chosen business ecosystem.
And if we broaden our scope, we can find all sorts of sources of inspiration: from social network comments to companies with similar solutions in other countries. It’s impossible for one person to know absolutely everything that’s related to the goal. Any challenge involves a variety of perspectives and, with these exercises, we can incorporate diverse sources to cover them all.
5- The Client Always in Mind.
Having done all of this, we can establish our goal. Having arrived at this point, the members of each team will have come up with enough information to know the context of the ecosystem and the goal they want to achieve in the long term. It’s time for decision making. But, what’s the criteria? Think of your most important client and imagine the most critical moment of its experience.
Lorena and Nicole didn’t just establish that they wanted to work in the hospitality and tourism waste management sector, but they also took an extra step. After talking to experts, they fine tuned their project and established that their target would be chain restaurants who carry out an external production of mass consumption products and who still didn’t have a clear, measureable and functional waste management policy.
6- Know Your Own.
We’ve gotten started. In the following sessions, ideas will arise and also distractions that will make us lose focus, as well as doubts and much debate. Every beginning has its challenges and complications. Are we going down the right path? It’s only logical to think about this. But we must lose the fear of failing.
The important thing is having the whole team involved in the project. That’s why, before starting with the programme, students carried out exercises to get to know themselves better, to know what knowledge each of them would be bringing in, which experiences, interests or likings they could share with others. For Nicole, Recycling the Industry “was very useful because we all had complementary views and information about the same topic and we were adding to a collective knowledge”. With the common goal already established, it’s time for action. “There’s no right or wrong way to go about it — we listen to each other, integrate the vision of external people, we make decisions and we trust the work we’ve carried out in this first session of work”, Lorena adds.
Like the ancient Latins already knew, getting started is half the work. A recipe that still applies many centuries later. There’s simply no other way to reach a goal than getting on with it.