Implementing design sprints in the education of industrial designers

Joyce K Thomas, Cliff Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the next five to ten years, products will undergo radical changes with improvements in technology and rapid manufacturing processes. A fourth year industrial design studio utilizes a “design sprint,” colliding concept development of housewares products with large-scale farm equipment, in rapid paced design thinking towards human-centered products for the future. Starting with these two overarching product categories, teams sought to understand/explore, diverge/converge, and prototype their innovations in a fast-paced implementation of the design process. Techniques of mind-mapping, empathic modeling, existing product mapping, user interviews, sketches, storyboards, and low fidelity prototypes were incorporated. Peer reviews by other teams determined which concepts would go forward at stage-gates, twice a week, as the initial forty concepts were funneled into one final deliverable. Students were expected to communicate why their design was compelling and who it benefits. Collaboration, trust, problem finding/solving, articulating ideas, and shared vision were some of the student takeaways from this rapidly paced project. This rapid development sprint process has been run in two consecutive years with different cohorts of approximately thirty-five senior industrial design students. This article discusses the process, the success, and the missteps during these rapid development projects and highlights both the faculty and student takeaways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalDesign Principles and Practices
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Collaboration
  • Design thinking
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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