Facilitating A Start-Up Design Sprint
Facilitating A Start-Up's First Design Sprint
Role: Design Sprint Facilitator
How might I assist a student-run start-up in conceptualizing the minimum viable product of their mobile app?
Facilitate a full-day group design sprint as an introduction to the design process and one another.
What's Mapnin' is exactly what it sounds like -- it's a map. It's also a start-up. Founded by Charlotte Master and Kevin Carter as undergraduate students at Michigan State University and Georgetown University respectively, the company creates mutually beneficial relationships between college students and the cities they reside in. Maps were created by artists in both Lansing and Georgetown to showcase each town's hippest hotspots while providing local businesses a unique opportunity to advertise among the student population.
College students wield approximately $207 billion in discretionary spending power on products such as food, electronics and clothing. With this knowledge at hand, the What's Mapnin' team sought to invigorate their local communities utilizing that spending power. Paper maps were provided for free to students, who could then see the recommended list of businesses in the surrounding area. Businesses pay to be featured on the map, which boosts their awareness amongst the college crowd.
For our sprint, the What's Mapnin' team zeroed in on ideating and prototyping the next phase of their business--developing a mobile application. Their hope was that developing this technology would expand the reach of the organization to more students and businesses.
Keeping a minimum viable prototype in mind, I guided the team through an eight hour design sprint. Prior to this meeting, the team had never all been in the same room together. Part of my challenge, in addition to facilitating the sprint, was to break down primary communication barriers and build team cohesion. Throughout the sprint I asked the team to center their users by creating personas and journey maps based upon previous research. Additionally, we spent significant time framing the problem utilizing an affinity map.
The future of What's Mapnin is looking bright! The mobile application is set to launch in Fall 2018 at the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, and eventually, beyond.