Design Sprints to give startups a head start

Last week, two of our Rocketeers took a trip to Brandeis University to lead a one-day workshop for Our Generation Speaks’s summer fellowship program.

Workshopping in action.

OGS is a non-profit organization with a mission to create an entrepreneurial community of leaders and, in doing so, to shape a more peaceful Israeli-Palestinian future built on trust. How? With the help of Brandeis’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, OGS hosts a three-month summertime fellowship program for young Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs.

Over the course of the summer, fellows at OGS work to develop an idea they have for a startup. This is unique because, unlike a lot of similar programs, fellows at OGS aren’t admitted with fully developed ideas for startups that are all but ready to roll out. Instead, fellows work with mentors to test and refine their ideas to the point where the fellows can take their startup plans home and get them off the ground.

Sketching ideas.

This is where Rocket comes in.

For the past two years, we’ve brought our experience with Design Sprints to OGS, pro bono. In case anyone’s unfamiliar with Design Sprints, they’re a proven process for test-driving a product or a product idea. They were created by Jake Knapp and pioneered by the folks at Google Ventures. Over the course of five days, we help people create a clickable prototype and even put the prototype through its paces during an initial round of testing.

For OGS’s purposes, we condensed the typical 5-day schedule into a one day workshop. Since the fellows were still working on developing their startup ideas the goal of the adjusted schedule was less to complete a full-fledged design sprint and more to show the fellows how the process works, the better to complete it themselves at the end of the fellowship.

“Rocket Insights helped the fellows at Our Generation Speaks make the enormity of building a startup less overwhelming with a practical introduction to Design Sprints, empowering our fellows with the skills to rapidly generate and test ideas with potential customers from the outset.”  – David Mendels, Co-Chairperson of the OGS Growth Committee & Former CEO of Brightcove

As anyone in tech can attest to, building a startup isn’t easy, let alone a successful one. Nevertheless, the program is on the cusp of graduating their fifth cohort of fellows and, in that short amount of time, has managed to kickstart over a dozen successful startups. Even more exciting, this year OGS was able to increase the number of fellows from 30 to 50.

We had a blast hosting the workshop and getting the chance to work with the folks at OGS again. If you’re interested, you can find more information about Our Generation Speaks and the fellowship program here.

And, for more information on Design Sprints, we highly recommend downloading our free e-book on the subject.