Jake Knapp on going beyond the sprint

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Jake Knapp is a time dork. Or at least, that’s what he calls himself. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, given how thoughtfully his book Sprint addresses the challenge of attacking sticky design problems within the constraints of a single week.

Jake Knapp

Aarron Walter and I are both big fans of Jake’s book, so we were really excited to sit down with the author and pick his brain. One thing I was most curious about was how Knapp took some principles from design thinking and evolved them to work in situations where the teams didn’t have the luxury of expert guidance.

I’ve seen the results of design thinking as they apply to the work our students do in the class Implementation, and have also seen the impressive outcomes when expert teams like those at IDEO are brought in to help apply the toolkit.

I also know that outside these settings, it can be challenging to implement design thinking effectively. Even large companies like IBM have had to evolve the toolkit to serve their needs of speed and scale.

Jake Knapp workshop

Jake teaches the sprint process at a DesignBetter.Co Workshop in Chicago.

“It’s no surprise that design has become more and more important in making products successful, because there is this rising expectation about how high quality a product should be before you even give it a chance. But that’s not the most interesting part…the interesting part is how design shapes a business.”
–Jake Knapp

In this interview, you’ll get a chance to hear how Jake tweaked tactics to work more effectively with digital product development.

You can also expect to learn:

  • How design sprints can help engineering teams pause and make sure everyone is headed in the right direction
  • Why storytelling is critical to the sprint process
  • How to get stakeholders outside of design teams to buy into sprints
  • 2 things that will make you a better design leader

This episode is loaded with interesting ideas and tips, but Jake isn’t done yet. Hear what he’s up to now (perhaps no surprise—it involves writing, and time). Sprint over to your backpack and grab some headphones, you don’t want to miss our chat.

If you like what we’re doing, and want to hear the stories of more great designers like Jake, it would help us out a lot if you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play and leave us a review.

Thanks for listening!


Eli Woolery, Director of Design Education at InVision
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Medium or on Twitter.

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