Running Fully Digital Sprints

design sprint Apr 28, 2020

Significant changes are happening to the ways industries are functioning due to aftereffects of Covid-19! Along this effort multiple organizations across the globe are supporting and looking for potential solutions that help them strive through this time as well as developing resilience towards future events.

As part of our effort we organized VivekaSpinon, a two day design sprint aimed at solving challenges shared by companies such as Turkcell, Anadolu Efes, Habitat, Acıbadem Incubation Center and Teyit.

As you might guess, organizing this sprint was a new experience and it wouldn’t be as exciting without the support of our collaborators Habitat, Endeavor Turkiye, Kök Projekt, University4Society and imece.

Companies participating in our sprint each shared challenges & Innovation domains they look to tackle over the coming days. We were in search of solutions to challenge domains such as keeping small businesses and entertainment spaces from closing, enabling healthy collection, validation and distribution of information in times of crisis and other issues created along these problems.


Organizing sprints is a super exciting activity full of interaction, communication and collaboration. Yet, it is also demanding from the facilitator since you need to be multitasking to your limit and making adjustments in an already intense schedule to make sure teams deliver results.

As a facilitator, we need to keep teams engaged, know at every second the state they are at, problems they are facing and be able to intervene when necessary. In a physical setting this is difficult but you have a position very similar to the panopticon. However, things radically change in a virtual environment as initiating and moving from interactions is not as easy.


In a physical sprint one facilitator can manage the process for up to 6 teams ideally, but this number is halved in a digital sprint. The reason for this is that going between teams is not like turning your head around but more like entering and exiting a room every time you want to communicate to the people inside.

On the other hand, participants are in a significantly different environment as well. Each team member being at a different location makes internal team interactions and communications difficult. Many of the tasks usually used in a physical space such as drawings and free-form expression methods are also not so easy to implement.

How we did it

We had 11 teams participating in the sprint over two days starting from 9am to 6pm. The process was divided into three main sections of exploring problem domains through research and discussion with field experts, focusing attention and developing solutions.

While choosing tools that we intended to use, there was one critical factor. We wanted the tools to be free and familiar to our participants. This was important as it would shorten adoption phase and give flexibility to participants to use their content later on or make modifications to it easily. Overall, I have gathered some of the tips and tools we can share down here:

  • We used Zoom meetings, more specifically breakout rooms feature to manage teams. This worked better than we expected, after assigning people to teams you can gather everyone for briefings and send them back again.
  • We had co-facilitators rotating the rooms. They were essential in this process as they would inform us on how each team is progressing and help have a general view of how things were going on.
  • We used google Slides, Sheet and Drawing for collaboration tools and they worked great. We had templates on all documents where we expected participants to fill in or add their inputs. Templates are essential here, place footnotes at the bottom of each slide telling exactly what you expect.
  • Create a master document on Google Sheets where participants can share their progress at the end of each stage.

Dear Facilitation Team

Running digital sprints is difficult and requires significant co-ordination between the organizing members. So make sure that everyone participating is briefed and oriented on steps, tools and methods used thoroughly. You won’t have the chance to intervene as easily in a digital sprint when there are problems, so you need everyone to have the tools necessary to tackle problems that might arise.

To learn more about the projects and processes we used you can visit the team presentations on our Youtube channel, also feel free to contact us to share your thoughts or questions. You can always reach us through