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Kickstarting digital services

The Innovation team at Ad Hoc is an experienced team of digital service practitioners dedicated to introducing new customers to the world of digital services, through workshops and short sprints. In contrast to Ad Hoc’s delivery work where we build and ship production digital services, this team can help your organization answer key questions about your product or service that can reduce the risk and cost of your programs over the long-term, empower your team to get started with digital service delivery, and help with early stage product strategy and roadmapping.

How we work

We use short engagements designed to get government teams hands-on experience using proven commercial product and service design methods and adapting them to a government context. We use collaborative exercises to walk teams through these methods and emphasize the co-creation of materials, such as prototypes or user research test plans and scripts. Our product design experts pair with the subject matter experts on your team to help you tackle major challenges. Engagements can be as short as two hours or as long as five weeks, and include options under the micro-purchase and simplified acquisition thresholds.

2-Hour Workshop

These short workshops provide a low-risk way to get introduced to the digital service concepts of product thinking and human-centered design.

We’ll take you through exercises that are tailored to your particular needs. These workshops are good if you:

  • Need to align your team and stakeholders on the next steps for your product or service
  • Have competing policy priorities and aren’t sure where to start
  • Don’t know how (or whether) to get started using agile, lean product, or human-centered design methods
  • Are interested in a Discovery Sprint (see below) but aren’t sure if it’s right for your team

The 2-Week Research Sprint (beta)

Starting with a 2-Hour Workshop and building on those learnings, research sprints are a highly condensed version of an average user research cycle.

They are best if you:

  • Would otherwise skip user research due to lack of funding or time
  • Need to validate one major question or specific idea
  • Are targeting a broad audience of users

5-Week Discovery Sprint

Including a Workshop and a Research Sprint, this includes a full-week design sprint, iteration week, and comprehensive set of deliverables from the final wrap-up to give you solid, actionable insights upon which to base future endeavors.

Our Discovery Sprints are designed for government customers who want to develop digital products that are human-centered and iterative, but need help getting started. The goal of the Discovery Sprint is not to produce a functioning digital product, but instead to quickly iterate through prototypes that are just real enough to generate key insights from usability tests, in just five weeks.

These sprints dramatically reduce the risk of project failure by generating key insights about how users will interact with your product and identifying major hurdles to success early on in the product development cycle. Discovery sprints also help orient products and services around target outcomes, instead of specific features. This reduces the time and money spent on reworking a product later, but more importantly it creates government products that fulfill their mission.

A key feature of our Discovery Sprints is that we work side-by-side with your team the entire time -- this requires active participation from 3-7 members of your team for a week. After the sprint concludes, we want you to be equipped to run your own sprints, and we want your entire team to have a better understanding of how to carry your product forward to development. We can only achieve those goals by working onsite with your team for the sprint.

Discovery Sprint Timeline

  • 1-2 weeks of research and prep (including a 2 hour workshop to help with scoping and acclimating your team to the types of activities in the sprint)
  • 1 Sprint Week, where we lead your team through problem definition, prototyping, and usability testing (onsite, co-located with your team)
  • 1 Iteration Week, where we either refine the prototype from the previous week (if it has been validated as a good solution) or try out another concept (if the prototype didn’t solve the problem)
  • A wrap-up week where we deliver digital versions of all the artifacts and materials created by the team in the sprint, any additional recommendations, and brief key stakeholders of your choosing.

What follows is a typical example of a design sprint:

  1. Make a map and choose a target
  2. Sketch competing solutions
  3. Remix sketches, decide on the best
  4. Build a realistic prototype
  5. Test with target customers

After the sprint concludes, not only will you be equipped to run your own sprints, but your entire team is vested in the results of the sprint because they experienced it for themselves.

Let’s talk

Fill out this form so we can learn more about you and what you need help with. A member of the Innovation team will respond within 48 hours to schedule a brief consultation.


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