• Create&

We sold out our design sprint workshop during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Here's how it went.

Updated: Nov 30, 2017


On November 18, 2017, our team at Create& launched our first Intro to Design Sprints workshop, inspired by the innovation process from Google Ventures. Not only did we sell out within the first two weeks of marketing the event, but we were able to build a dynamic community of problem solvers in the D.C. metro area!


Design sprints are a rapid problem-solving framework that increases the chances of making something people want. They reduce uncertainty, by condensing the design and strategy timeline to five days. The end result allows you to walk away with answers to critical business questions.


As CoFounders at Create&, Gabe Arteaga and Maia Sciupac are keenly aware of the limitations facing organizations today. Both have worked for public and private sectors, focusing on issues like human trafficking, immigration, and higher education; and both have encountered their fair share of projects that would have benefited from a design sprint or two.


Some of the challenges they previously encountered when launching ideas for government and nonprofits, continues to appear in our globalized economy: limited time, money, and resources, and effective ways to equip future generations of changemakers entering the STEAM workforce. Thus, making ideas happen quickly, and ensuring individuals are well-trained to do so must be a priority for entrepreneurs and organizations that are interested in staying relevant and making an impact.


At Create&, we are in the business of crowdsourcing big ideas for social impact ventures, and training future makers. We run design sprints, hold workshops and trainings, and co-organize a design sprint meetup with Brllnt in Washington D.C.

So, for this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, we felt it was fitting to launch our first, ever Intro to Design Sprints workshop for students and professionals in the DMV area (DMV stands for D.C., Maryland, Virginia). Here’s a recap of what we did, along with our future plans for 2018.



What we did during the workshop


For our first go, we designed a four-hour workshop that interwove a bit of lecture with mostly hands-on activities. We wanted participants to be able to walk away with basic knowledge of what a design sprint is, when to use a sprint, how to set the stage for a sprint, and an understanding of the five-step sprint framework.


To prepare for the workshop, we conducted user research through a series of interviews, surveys, and observations of other workshops. We also ran a design sprint ourselves! All of the insights we gained, directly informed the way we structured our Intro to Design Sprints workshop.


Ultimately, the biggest assumption we wanted to test was if the four-hour format for individuals relatively new to design thinking, would be enough to inspire them to run design sprints at work, and compel them to join our community.



What we learned at the end of our Intro to Design Sprints workshop, was that 100% of those who filled out our user feedback survey felt that the workshop gave them the confidence to use a design sprint in the future. Moreover, participants really enjoyed the exercises we ran, the people they met, and the communication and interaction with our team.


One of our participants had this to say about their experience:

"Without a doubt this has been the most useful and engaging design thinking workshop I have been to in DC — and an amazing place to meet like-minded people and see how they work. Unpretentious, welcoming, well-organized, and fun.”

What we plan to do next


We also received great suggestions on areas to improve. This type of feedback is particularly meaningful, because it gives us something to work on as we continue to tweak and refine our format.


Thus, next steps include expanding our training format to spend more time on exercises and concepts. What we heard from participants is that they wanted to be able to dive deeper into topics like journey mapping, storyboarding, and prototyping. So, we’ll be adding that layer to our trainings and workshops in the future for added value.


Furthermore, participants said that they wanted even more hands-on training by being a part of an actual design sprint. As strong proponents of this type of learning, we’ve decided to run community design sprints to give individuals a way to further practice the skills needed for a sprint, while also helping out social impact organizations. Ultimately, our desire is to build a more robust, diverse, and inclusive community of problem solvers who are making an impact in the world.


We’re currently organizing our community design sprint for 2018 to crowdsource big ideas for a local stakeholder. Over the course of a two-day weekend, we’ll have the stakeholder pitch their sprint challenge. Then, participants will work with the stakeholder to gain an understanding of the problem. From there, participants will come up with ideas and prototypes for the stakeholder. Finally, we’ll conclude the two-day event with a winning prototype that the stakeholder chooses, which we’ll later refine and test in front of real users.


Final thoughts


We’re excited by the feedback from participants, eager to include you in our future plans for Create&.


We also want to thank Shruti Rastogi, who helped us with marketing and advertising our event. She played a key role in ensuring that our workshop sold out quickly, and has her own marketing consulting agency - so check her out!


Finally, we want to invite you to be a part of the Create& community we’re building. Join our email listserv, chat with us on Twitter and Facebook, and come to one of our meetup events. We’re looking forward to seeing you around.


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Create& crowdsources big ideas for social impact ventures, and trains future makers. Learn more by going to www.createand.co. If you’re interested in being a part of our community design sprint, sign up to get notified of event details here. We’re not only looking for participants, but co-organizers, sponsors, and partners.