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  • 作家相片Maria Li

What if someone tell you, your business no longer exist the next day...

Recently, the virus thing is like the world war. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely mark its space in world history. The virus not only causing millions deaths around the world, it is also greatly affecting the big social and economic engine operating that holds nations in place.

Yesterday I saw this poster explaining how COVID 19 has disrupt many aspect of the human race. Business are affected and people are losing their jobs (economy), high density in cities (living condition), loneliness, mental health and overloaded health care system (health care), schools closed (education), cut down budget on climate change action and conservation (environmental), but there are also some good affect such as less air pollutant because of less vehicle and factories are closed.

(Photo: Impact Hub Taipei / 社會影響力製造所)
COVID-19 affecting all SDGs (Photo: Impact Hub Taipei)

Unavoidable, my company business is also greatly affected under this pandemic time. Our core business is education. So with schools closed and the regulation of public gathering, we suddenly lost majority of our business.

But is it the end of the world?

No. The wheel is still rolling, things moves on. But the pandemic hit us hard to make us realize we need to change. This not only apply to my company, but also to all of us. The pandemics reveal the gap and fault lines in our systems, our practices. It's a warning to us. At the same time, it also creates opportunities to improve or revamp the faulty process or products in our society and market.

We definitely need to find another way to sustain our business and continue to pursue our vision creatively.

My team and I put our heads together to think about the problem we are facing: We cannot deliver face-to-face workshops and training with more than 4 people, and this situation seems to last for quite a while. Also we foreseen there will be more and more similar disruptive situations happen again in the future. How might we redesign our business to be more robust and scalable?

Therefore I think it's a good time to run a design sprint with my team to quickly work out a testable solution.

Design Sprint

I remembered the book I read 2 years ago. It is "Sprint" by Jake Knapp.

The book was written by three partners at Google Ventures, through investing and coaching many start-up teams, they distill their experience to a unique five-day process for solving tough business problems, proven at more than 100 companies. Within five days, you'll move from idea to prototype to decision, saving you and your team countless hours and countless dollars.

What types of projects are the perfect fit for a design sprint?

  • A remake or redesign of an existing product

  • The search for a creative solution to a specific problem

  • The need to align multiple visions or departments (marketing, business, technology, etc. ) on complex issues

  • Creation and validation of new disruptive or innovative business models

  • The exploration of an opportunity and its validation through prototyping.


To prepare the Sprint, I did some research online to see what is the best practice. Here are other other resources I refer to and share with my team one day before the sprint.

Day 1 - Define the Problem & Brainstorm ideas

In day 1, we are going to define our problem and ask ourselves the following questions:

1) Who's our customer?

The team will draw a customer persona and list out as specific as possible about that Persona, such as age, gender, family status, education, work (what kind of work, job, business, working hours etc.), income level, social status, needs and pain points.

In our case, our potential customers are the parents who want to provide their boring kids with fun activities that are educational and stimulate kids' creativity at home, the high school students who want to build their portfolio to apply university and college students who keen to learn new technical skills and build their portfolio. Another group of customers are teachers (primary school to secondary school) who need to design and deliver educational programs to students and social workers who need to build community and run interesting programs to engage youths.

2) What problems are we solving?

After listing out the potential customers, we write down what is their needs and pain points.

When we put ourselves into their shoes to imagine what are their needs and challenges, it is recommended to interview a real person that represent the potential customer segment. Thus, we interview a teacher who teaches Maths at a local primary school, and he told us what is the usual practice from designing curriculum to deliver the class and the pain points of being a teacher.

Looking into all the users and their needs, we tried to find patterns. Do their have common problems? Which customer segments we want to focus on?

One common problem nowadays is everyone need to go online. Many interactions used to be face-to-face need to shift to online virtual space now. Another common problem is they are lack of creative inspirations, tools and space to make something that improve their lives.

Referencing to our existing business and customer base (which are mostly schools ,institutions and NGOs), we want to keep the B2B part and expand the B2C part.

3) What solutions we can offer to solve the problem?

To answer this question, we need to write down our problem statement and do a brainstorming session to come up with many ideas to solve the problem. Having our company core vision (impact innovation, global impact) in mind, we draft two problem statements:

  • How might we teach user to do making online?

  • How might we facilitate user to do impact innovation online?

The problem statements might not be perfect, but it is a good start.

4) How does our product solve the problem?

From here we tie the value of our product directly back to customer problems. How does solving their problems make their life better? Does it save their time? Look smarter? Feel more fulfilled?

5) What are the key features of the product?

Here we think Minimum Viable Product and limit the feature set as much as possible (we need to provide just enough value for some customers to buy).

Actually, most of what we write down are assumptions. We still need to verify them with our target customers.

Tomorrow, we will move to the step of Decide to vote and pick a few ideas to make the prototype and start design how to do the test.

Stay tuned.

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