How a COVID-busting design sprints can help any business prepare for 2021

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COVID has been divisive, creating a great demand for established online retailers; but has been devastating for traditional retail and businesses that rely on human interaction. And with consumer confidence forecast to remain low in 2021 in Europe, businesses need to do all they can to make next year as successful as possible.  

When I look at the market, I see businesses splitting into one of three buckets:

  1. Failing – Human and social businesses that rely on people moving and getting together. Businesses in the hospitality, entertainment and travel sectors are obvious victims here
  2. Flagging – Things are ok for now, but new inspiration is needed to look at ways to create efficiencies within their operations and create new routes to market to shore up the coming year
  3. Flying – These are businesses that can’t get enough products in boxes to ship to customers, or demand for their online service has grown dramatically. Grocers are a great example here. As are tech businesses like Amazon, or SAAS businesses like Zoom (share prices have quadrupled since February); and financial services companies – especially in the equity release market

Regardless of which bucket you find yourself in, there are three behaviours that all businesses will need to demonstrate to get ahead of their market.

Create a culture of invention

Creating ‘what if’ moments and looking at a way to innovate has always been an important part of growing a business. If ‘without innovation you are standing still’ was ever a truism, it absolutely is now.

Do new things at pace

Often paid lip service to in the name of ‘agile’ (and often left inside the IT department), truly agile ways of working that bring together multiple disciplines across an organisation are where real speed to market can be realised.

Do things together

I think empathy is going to continue to be a valuable currency in 2021. People – after all – is what drives any business. Developing a business culture that makes people feel they are making a contribution and are in control of their destiny will help create an empowered team that will be up for the challenges ahead.

The good news is, these three behaviours are relatively easy – and fun – to get underway.

In fact, there is a tried and tested method that creates the environment needed to instigate all three of these behaviours at once.

The Design Sprint

At Code, we have worked with Design Sprint methods for over 5 years, delivering them for diverse businesses such as Audi, Abel and Cole and Amnesty International. They are a rapid 10-day way to create new ideas, bringing together people from across a business – sometimes for the first time.

During COVID, we’ve created three tailored Design Sprints to help businesses in whichever bucket they are in:

Disruption Sprint

For businesses that are struggling to make their business models work, we can help to disrupt your thinking.

Growth Sprint

For businesses that are largely unaffected by Covid, now is the time to create market agility ready for an unsettled 2021.

Acceleration Sprint

For businesses that are thriving in these times, we can help you understand what to build, and look at how to build it whilst moving fast.

In just 10 days you could be solving some of the most pressing business challenges you have ever encountered, and we are here to help.

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