Effective innovation sprints: The basics of becoming an innovation sprint master12 min read

Effective innovation sprints: The basics of becoming an innovation sprint master

Nowadays, businesses are facing pressure over changing markets. Conventional approaches that were once considered great are simply not as effective as it was before. This has caused businesses to fall short of particular benchmarks.

In response, many of them are spending heavily on various solutions that might help their processes function efficiently. One of the best ways to address this is by running an innovation sprint.

However, without an innovation sprint master, it might be a little difficult to conduct it effectively.

What is an innovation sprint master?

Innovation sprint masters are experts in organizing and facilitating innovation sprints. These are timed intervals usually from 1-4 weeks in which three potential solutions are created and tested for development.

Innovation sprint masters are creative people who think far beyond the box. They design and carry out sprints to determine whether or not an innovation idea is feasible.

For a few days, they lead a small and focused team in transforming a problem or an idea into a practical, viable, and effective business concept.

This process is conducted in a few phases — where the team, together with the innovation sprint master, dedicates a short lead time for maximum, concrete outcomes.

With this procedure, innovation sprint masters would be able to establish innovation problems and rigorously train individuals for design thinking.

Overall, the goal of innovation sprint masters is to produce a clear output that decides whether or not your ideas will be able to generate essential commercial value. If not, solutions for additional improvement must be devised, explored, and tested for further improvements.

How do you recognize an effective innovation sprint master?

An ideal innovation sprint master possesses the following characteristics:

1. Understands and overcomes crucial obstacles

Innovation sprint masters can help you identify the potential threats of your business idea, as well as the best approaches to handle these concerns without jeopardizing organizational resources and other vital parts of the business.

2. Identifies weaknesses in the company’s innovation capacities

As the sprint progresses, the innovation sprint master aims to identify what prevents your organization from successfully implementing your innovation concepts.

They explore which corporate functions and elements are limiting innovation advancement and what needs to be done to avoid such scenarios in the long run.

3. Examines preconceptions that may be impeding growth

One of the benefits of having an innovation sprint master involves the fact that complexities will be found as the sprint advances. Hence, key focuses may alter or adapt to these constraints. Preconceptions will be clarified, and project goals will be tailored to ensure success.

4. Distinguishes regions of ambiguities

Innovation sprint masters can recognize ambiguity within ideas. However, they often use these gaps to their own advantage. For in these uncertainties, they discover opportunities for growth.

They understand that adhering to old, traditional processes and routines would most likely not result in anything new for the industry.

5. Strengthens business ideas for decision-making purposes

Innovation concepts can either be examined, realized, or discarded. The very nature of innovation sprints enables the organization to acquire verifiable evidence on many theories at a quick pace.

As a result, with innovation sprint masters, you will be able to eliminate concepts that are unlikely to succeed. Instead, you may concentrate on ideas that you truly feel would be an excellent complement to your products.

6. Increases engagement and buy-in

With innovation sprint masters, you will be given a lot of room and guidance to participate and experiment. Because of this casual and open environment, you will be able to actively engage employees and emphasize how important they are to the organization.

7. Enhances the morale of employees

Aside from engaging employees, innovation sprint masters are excellent in boosting staff morale.

They know how difficult it can be to establish links between employees and top management in a huge organization.

So they provide terrific opportunities to invigorate and empower employees, such as encouraging them to contribute directly to generating ideas during the sprint.

8. Helps employees develop skills

An innovation sprint allows employees to acquire and establish new skills.

With the intent of the innovation master to involve everyone in the process, every employee might discover and cultivate skills or even a side of them that they may wish to pursue personal growth.

9. Aids organizations in acquiring relevant knowledge

Moreover, innovation sprint masters will help you navigate through the hardships and setbacks of the sprint. Then, you will get a trove of knowledge that is highly beneficial to both your organization and your customers.

It enables more effective and precise estimates or even proposals in future undertakings that have been designed to prevent possible problems.

10. Saves resources

The expertise of an innovation sprint master can help you save money, time, and other resources by eliminating unnecessary elements of your organization.

By holding an innovation sprint, you will be able to determine whether or not your ideas will succeed. Hence, you can think twice before investing too much time and money in them.

How does an innovation sprint master work?

Here’s what it’s like seeing an innovation sprint master in action:

Convergent and divergent thinking

Innovation sprint masters are meant to support, educate, and advise participants in utilizing the right conceptual approach for the job at hand.

Throughout the innovation sprint process, there will be different phases to tackle. So one must alternate between convergent and divergent thinking, depending on what fits a specific stage the most.

Convergent

Convergent thinking is a technique that innovation sprint masters apply for examining, evaluating, and selecting the most relevant and beneficial ideas. It is generally rational, straightforward, and narrowly oriented.

Convergent thinking streamlines and categorizes the large number of ideas generated by the innovation sprint.

Divergent

Divergent thinking is a mental process or strategy for generating innovative ideas through research and investigation of every workable option or scenario. It occurs most frequently in a fluid manner — which is why numerous ideas are created in a short period of time.

With divergent thinking, people frequently develop novel and unique viewpoints, or even new connections between presented concepts.

What aspects should an innovation sprint master focus on?

These are the areas where innovation sprint masters should concentrate their efforts on:

1. Preparation

The preparatory phase consists of discussing the scope of the innovation project and defining it, consisting of three easy steps:

  1. The innovation sprint master tells the team of the sprint’s aims and what is expected of them. Everyone will then be guided on how to collaborate from concept to realization. Because this needs complete attention, innovation sprint masters should create and guarantee a distraction-free atmosphere.
  2. Everyone works together to plan and prepare for the sprint. All of the resources, equipment, and space required for efficient work are secured in place.
  3. The investigation of the topic begins. Short-term goals and objectives are established, and methods for achieving them are developed in accordance with their impact.

2. Problem Finding

The second step involves identifying the problem.

This is where you learn what problems require real-world solutions — without making assumptions. The final outcome in this phase should be a validated problem canvas with a “problem statement”.

That way, you can always evaluate the outcome of the subsequent steps to the original issue.

The following are the specific events that occur during this step:

  1. The team comes together to brainstorm what they want to accomplish during the sprint, why they’re doing it, and how they will do it. Dos and don’ts are also defined.
  2. A problem is chosen, defined, and investigated in order to make the correct assumptions. Doing this validates that you are addressing the proper problem and that your team has a prevalent knowledge of it.

3. Solution finding

Solution finding is divided into two parts: idea generation and selection of ideas.

  • Idea generation: The team generates as many ideas as possible with the help of other relevant parties (workers, customers, external parties, and other stakeholders).
  • Selection of ideas: In a series of screening processes, ideas are whittled down to the finest concept, or at least the best three concepts. A solution canvas is then used to convey the core of these notions.

Then, with the innovation sprint master, you go through another batch of selection rounds. This is to choose the best concept for execution based on your team’s expertise and knowledge of the situation at hand.

4. Concept development

The chosen concept is subsequently developed into an actual output. This might be a functional app, a mock-up, or a sample. The material is then arranged in a way that allows stakeholders to develop a clear image of the end result.

The end result is a functional prototype that you can assess with customers and gain input on (described in the following step) before committing resources in constructing the final product.

5. Validation and presentation of the concept

The initial product is submitted to stakeholders for validation and for users to provide input. Then, it undergoes testing to determine whether it can proceed to a more comprehensive proof-of-concept stage or the business case.

The responses you receive will then be used to improve the final product until it becomes ready for launching.

What are some tips to become an effective innovation sprint master?

In a nutshell, here’s how you can conduct a successful innovation sprint:

  1. Make sure to prepare well for it. Secure everything that you need before starting the session. Remember to establish the mission of the sprint so everyone knows what needs to be done, including what the sprint’s end goals are.
  2. Invite the right participants. If you can decide who can participate in the sprint, choose employees that are willing to learn and go through grit to achieve a successful outcome. Make sure that they are dedicated to participating. If not, encourage them to do so.
  3. Focus on end-users – the people who will use or benefit from your innovation in the future. Think about them while going through the sprint, including their preferences and demands.

In the end, effective innovation sprint masters help organizations generate and test out ideas more quickly. They are innovative thinkers who are highly observant and quick on their feet, particularly with bringing concepts to life.

Begin an innovation sprint today. Read more information regarding innovation sprints by downloading our innovation ebook here.

Published On: April 14th, 2022Categories: Innovation strategy

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