Facilitating 10 remote design sprints simultaneously for ING’s Innovation Bootcamp

Every year, ING calls for the best and brightest ideas within their organisation. These ideas are challenged to go through a rigorous innovation funnel, the Innovation Bootcamp. Over the first months of this programme, 450+ ideas are brought down to ten concepts with high potential. These ten concepts are admitted to the Innovation Bootcamp Sprint Week to take their idea to the next level and pitch it during a Lion’s Den for judgement and possible implementation. Our job was to guide a group of 60 participants and 10 coaches through this sprint week, remotely. This meant running 10 remote design sprints at the same time, that were taking place in seven countries and ±50 physical locations.

Client

ING (9 weeks)

Challenge

Guide a group of 60 participants and 10 coaches through 10 remote design sprints at the same time

Impact

Prepare to go remote

In a physical sprint week of this size, it’s easy to stay in touch with people’s mojo, answer questions quickly and adjust in the last moment. In this sprint week, however, the digital medium made it far more challenging and less accessible to get a ‘feeling’ for how things were going. This meant three things: preparation, preparation and preparation.

Remote sprint set-up

The sprint week was set up so that each team would be guided by one of the 10 involved PACE coaches. We set up a solid programme supported by detailed Playbooks and Miro boards for coaches and participants. By explaining every step in detail (sometimes literally minute by minute) and sharing facilitator’s notes, we ensured a strong support system for coaches with all levels of experience.

By mapping out the complete programme of the sprint week, the bulk of our work was in the preparation of the week. With 10 sprints going on at the same time, these preparations  allowed us to be available for support during the week itself.

Prior to the sprint week, the teams got together to discuss the scope and to get familiar with Miro. By clearly defining the target group, their challenges, and assumptions, all noses pointed in the same direction and we were ready for a flying start.

Digital sprinting

To ensure smooth facilitation, we built a physical war room in the ING office from where we could host the plenary presentations, energizers and activities. To recreate the vibe of a vibrant venue with innovation buzzing in the hallway and exuding from whirling (recycled) post-its, we added our own flavour of fun and games during the week.

Before even starting the sprint week, each participant received a welcome package. They could eat the chocolate, wear the sweater created for the Innovation Bootcamp and use the yoga mat during the sprint week to stretch the strained desk work muscles.

A bingo card was added on which teams could share their highlights and group photos (insert picture), as well as a remote pub quiz was organised in which each team was tested on their knowledge of modern day inventions and translations of ABBA songs.

Day 1

The teams kicked off the week with identifying key problems and opportunities. Teams explored the riskiest assumptions, interviewed industry experts to fill blind spots in their knowledge and prepared for the brainstorm the next day.

Day 2

The second day, the teams dived into generating and selecting ideas for their challenge. A visual thinking workshop helped them to build a story map of their idea after which they had to define what part of the idea they were going to prototype the next day.

Day 3

During the third day each team used a ‘divide and conquer’-approach to both build the prototype and create a preliminary business case to explore the viability of their idea. By creating the topic list for the user test, all teams were well-prepared to put their prototypes to the test the next day.

It is a great experience. Being with the team and having to make many decisions quickly and often. Learning from each other, learning from experts, doing customers interviews, doing user tests and all fun activities made this week exciting!

Day 4

Doing remote user tests can be challenging, but all teams managed to (in)validate prototype assumptions. The fourth day ended with a pitch workshop given by a Dutch National Pitch Champion to prepare the teams for the Lion’s Den.

Day 5

The teams worked really hard to build, dry-run and refine their pitch to be able to impress the jury in the afternoon. The Lion’s Den had a professional set-up where each team had 6 minutes to pitch and 6 minutes for Q&A. Teams were scored on customer and business value, implementation feasibility and social impact.

The end results

In the end, the 10 participating teams looked back on a packed, intense but exciting sprint week. To close the week, the jury announced the 5 winners that continued to the final round of the Innovation Bootcamp. Additionally, we secretly made an aftermovie of the sprint week and showed it to all participants to go out with a bang!

And for us, although challenging, we were proud to have facilitated and guided this group of 60 innovators in 10 remote sprints. Proving that working remotely can be highly productive and – still – a lot of fun!

  • Ten teams gained theoretical and practical experience using various customer-centric methods;
  • Per team, riskiest assumptions and prototypes were tested with users;
  • All teams pitched their concept online for an ING jury;
  • Two teams received the GV Sprint book after winning the pub quiz and Bingo card game;
  • Five teams continued to the Bootcamp final with a more validated idea.