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Does Crazy 8s time pressure get the better of you?

How to get the most out of your team, no matter their design capabilities.

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Ok, hands up…

…who’s run a Design Sprint or workshop Crazy 8 Session where a participant or two have struggled with the concept and have been overwhelmed with the speed and time pressure of the exercise? Yes. No. Maybe?

Hmm, let’s take a step back.

Crazy 8’s is a great tool for designers, it’s an awesome way to generate lots of ideas very quickly. With the onus on creating quantity over quality.

But what if you’re not a designer? Or what if you have non-designers in your team or workshop group? Is this really an issue?

If you’re a newbie or not prepared it can be an unnerving experience for anyone. We’ve even seen Crazy 8 time pressure get to the most experienced, creative designers out there.

Design Thinking methods and Design Studio structures are being adopted by organisations as they strive to adapt in the age of digital disruption. So chances are your next Design Sprint team will be multidisciplinary, mixed skilled, with mixed capabilities based on mixed experiences. That is to say, you are highly likely to have a mixed bag of peeps in the room.

Right, let’s address the elephant in the room. Time.

Feeling the pressure of time can hinder your thought process. A clear mind = clear ideas. Stressing about the clock and hearing the Countdown theme in your head only makes it worse.

So, how can we make participants relaxed, make non-designers comfortable and confident and most of all keep us on time?

Time isn’t the problem, it’s the solution.

It’s our perception of time pressure that needs altering. Forget about time, and think about ideas, clear your head, let the ideas roll. Let a tool take care of time for you.

Using a mobile phone timer is usually the first port of call, but please don’t use the classic alarm buzzer (too scary man), use a lovely chimer instead.

Even better use a fitness interval timer app, you’ll be able to set it to 8 rounds of 60 secs or configure it to 40 secs if a 5 min Crazy 8 is your bag.

Crazy 8s Timer App on iOS Device

If you want something solely dedicated to Crazy 8’s then we at Design Sprint X have kindly developed a simple Crazy 8 timer app with these features…

  • An 8 set timer.
  • 60 secs per set.
  • A relaxing tone to signify next sketch.
  • Start, pause and reset the timer anytime.

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The aim of the app is to let time take care of itself and eliminate issues like, ‘which box are we on?’ and ‘how much time is left?’

Your next workshop will feel more relaxed, comfortable, in control and they’ll trust the process more as time becomes transparent.

As facilitators, it’s our job to lift the pressure off the participants and inform them on the process. We find we’re now freed up to scan the room and spot the folk who need a bit more advice, offer a few open tips, a spot of encouragement. ‘Draw stickmen and lines.’ ‘It’s not about the form it’s the function.’ ‘It’s not about how well you can sketch it’s about the idea.’

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