in innovation, tools

How we created 10-100 million USD of business value in 5 days of (intensive) work

I recently spent a few weeks in South-America, working with a number of large enterprises in helping them innovate at a rapid pace. In less than a week, we went from an area of innovation to a solution, validated across desirability, feasibility, and viability.

The process is one that I’ve used before when building startups; it is excellent for business process re-engineering. It is very similar to Google’s Sprint process, except I would consider it more user-driven. I’ve described it below.

How the process works?

Below is the flow of how the process works. It takes only 3-5 days to get to a result that is highly tangible and brings insights and value.

Suggested template agenda

A number of workstreams run through the week


Continued engagement with users throughout the week is critical to developing a solution that end-users will use. You will be continually:

Step 1: Doing Deep discovery in the field (observation and shadowing)

Step 2: Rapidly synthesizing

Step 3: Ideating

Step 4: Designing and prototyping.

Move back to step 1. The more cycles you can run, the better.


During the phase, you must continuously discover system dependencies to assess feasibility. You must also consider feasibility related to people and process, for example, the IT-literacy of the users.

You will want to keep your Enterprise Architect with you at all times.


Keep your North-Star top of mind for everyone involved, i.e. the selected strategic priority you are wanting to impact. Example: Drive operational efficiency by 1% within 12 months.

Tactics we used to do this:

  • Every morning, first thing, remind everyone that this is what we are designing to impact
  • In every workshop, make the North-Star visible and start the session by reminding of the purpose
  • Prioritize and assess with the North-Star in mind.

Insights and lessons learned

  • Executive Sponsorship and support are required for results. Executives must be deeply involved on Day 1 and Day 5
  • This is a partnership and the more committed customers the better the outcome. Specifically, access to end-users is critical.
  • Ultimately Leadership of the business must buy-in and support and fund the innovation that is designed on Day 5. You cannot force the horse to drink, you can only drag it to the water. If Leadership is not open to innovating then the entire process is ultimately a waste. Could this be considered a qualification issue?
  • Significant internal energy and appetite for innovation are built with the people in the organization that are part of this process.
  • The process requires throwing away the usual KPI’s for good design. This is not about winning awards. It is about creating business impact.
  • The process could be considered fairly stressful. While going through the process you’re essentially on the clock 24/7.
  • The process requires you to make leaps of faith but keep open to new ways of solution design. It is necessary to have a core team to rely on and work with throughout.

Try this out and let me know what you think.

Are you innovating rapidly? What is your process? I’d love to chat. Fill out the form below and I’ll make sure to get back to you.