15:00 - 16:40
Session: S29
[Organizations and Values] + Design
Design Sprint Task Ladder: Scaling design tasks for new modes of designing
Design Sprint; Design Tasks; Design Problems; Design Driven Business Development; Design Process
Sidse Ansbjerg BORDAL

New condensed modes of designing require new ways of differentiating design tasks. This paper presents a conceptual framework, the Task Ladder, which proposes such differentiation. It is based on a study of Small and Medium sized Enterprises and the tasks they work with in ‘design sprints’ as part of a Danish design-driven business development programme. The real-time study of a number of case companies’ sprint processes indicated that the companies’ experiences with the sprint format, and the needs and obstacles that arose in the process, related to the scope and scale of the design sprint task in question. This gave rise to the investigation of the scope differences between design sprint tasks, which resulted in the conceptualisation of a task scale represented by the Task Ladder. The Task Ladder features four task scale levels that vary on several aspects, but overall on degree of ‘openness’ of the task. This paper accounts for the development of the framework and discusses the usefulness of it, including interviews with design professionals who have used the Task Ladder in their work. The interviews demonstrate the usefulness of the Task Ladder in practice, stating that it provides an understanding and language to talk about development stages in design processes and hence serves as a tool for alignment of expectations, tracking of process progress, and planning future design processes. Finally, the Task Ladder lays the ground for further research on how design sprints can be adapted to meet different needs at the different task levels.