The REMODEL design sprint format: how we work

“How can we craft a methodology where companies can explore open source and merge learnings directly into their business – while keeping costs low and being respectful of their time?”

This was the question we asked ourselves at the outset of designing the REMODEL programme, and in the following research it became quite clear that to keep things succinct and concrete the design sprint format – as practised for many years by designers around the world, and refined by Google Ventures in later years (see the book) – was a great point of departure.

Crafting the ideal methodology for building open source manufacturing strategies

However, the Google Venture version of the design sprint requires quite a commitment: Participants needs to be available for a full week, and they also need to be in the same location of the instructor. That is a grand time commitment, especially for CEOs and decisionmakers in companies, who is the target group for REMODEL.

So instead we decided to remix that format a bit: Stretch it out across a few weeks, expand it a bit to suit our purpose (8 weeks) and, most importantly, decentralise it.

Decentralise? What does that mean?

The REMODEL design sprint lets participants work from their own address: You are instructed to set a team of 2-4 people from your organisation (ideally including someone from top management, someone from product development/innovation department and one from the manufacturing arm of the company).

Every week your work team takes on a new work package, which builds upon the one you did last week. In other words, you start from scratch in week 1 without any prior knowledge of what open source is, and then with each weeks package you progress your understanding of the concept and start embedding the business development opportunities of open source dynamics in one of the products in your existing portfolio. The outcome, after eight weeks, is a strategic understanding of the application of open source principles in hardware/manufacturing as well as a sketch idea for how to open one of your products.

Everything happens through carefully crafted design tools, games and exercises which makes the open source business development explorations fun and playful.

A design-sprint that is entirely self-driven

Methodically the sprint is set up to make the participants fully self-driven. Thus there is no need for any trained instructor or designer to lead the process. Instead, the materials of each work package have intuitive instructions built in: In part via a clearly written 1-page step-by-step instruction and in part via a video tutorial explaining not only what to do, but also showing an example of how to do it.

The REMODEL programme pilot in 2018

For the REMODEL programme which we have been running with 10 Danish manufacturing companies in the spring of 2018, we even stepped it up a notch: Our team printed all the materials and packed them in tubes that were sent to the companies every week during the sprint period. Moreover the REMODEL programme expert panel was enrolled as mentors who interacted with the companies during the sprint (two mentors per company) and lastly a submission system was set up to send feedback and work materials back to us in Danish Design Centre each week, so that we could supervise their progress and learn in detail how this highly experimental process would play out.

You can do it too

The REMODEL design sprint methodology to build new business strategies for manufacturing based on open source principles is freely available and openly licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA license, which invites everyone to not only use it in whichever way they please, but also rework it, build on it and exploit it, also for commercial purposes. As long as credit is given to Danish Design Centre as well as the creators whose work we have built on (credited on the actual work materials).

You can find all the REMODEL materials on Github. Later a more polished REMODEL Toolkit will be published.