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  Welcome to "Not in Kansas Anymore".

A little bit of context. Where do we sit today, and why Design Sprints are so important... ready? Let's go


“I think we are not in Kansas anymore,” said Dorothy after landing in Oz, and she remains right today.

The forces shaping business education and practices during the 20th century were completely transformed by the thunderstorm of connectivity and digitization. We were thrown into a new age and a new era; one powered by service, data, and the need to move fast and be agile.

The old marketing school of thought that taught us to launch products into the market and use brute force to make them appealing to consumers is outdated and inefficient. Sure, one can insist upon it, but tons of money and resources will be wasted on things that don’t translate into real value for customers. Organizations that continue to practice this approach today are exposed and bleeding. This red ocean is full of fast and furious little sharks, and they know that.

The “make and sell” strategies of yesterday are crippled and unable to perform smoothly in this new data-driven service economy. Similarly, the accelerated scientific approach proposed by the Lean Startup movement alone is unable to provide enough variation of ideas and the human connection necessary for a business to stay relevant to the people it is meant to serve.

Like I mentioned before, we live in a service economy, but sadly a collapsed one. Quoting Metallica, our three primary mass-service structures are broken, beaten, and scarred.

Our educational system was designed to prepare workers to perform basic operations in factories. The standardization of school programs was not an accident, but an intentional plan meant to create an infinite pool of human resources ready to be extracted by industries. Schools were designed to function exactly like factories, with our children treated as its raw materials.

Urban mobility services were initially designed to help factory workers commute to their jobs in the cities and to support production distribution. What factories exist nowadays? The future points towards people printing things at home, and the remaining industrial facilities are not located in the main urban centers anymore. So why do we still commute in the same way factory workers did in the 1900's?

The public healthcare service system created during the early industrial days aimed to scale healthcare to extend it to the growing urban population. The system was designed using scientific thinking as its foundation, and the hospital was conceived to function as a factory only with more white and with people riding the production belt.

It’s about time we snap out of the industrial smoke and rethink our ways.

Every entrepreneur is fueled by a rebellious instinct against this status quo. The primary purpose of starting small and still making it to the market is to disrupt it by proposing a new way to do things.

To be successful in doing so, entrepreneurs (and intrapreneurs) should not mirror our smoky industrial past and remain reliant solely on scientific approaches to build things. That would be to insist on repeating many of the same business model mistakes that brought us here.

The Lean Startup movement made it clear that startups need to move fast and minimize waste. However, it lacks empathy-building and co-designing practices which are the two most important ingredients to orchestrate offers that are more humane, sustainable, and adapted to survival in today’s economy.

As shown by historical analyses, the scientific approach alone is not going to do the trick. You need Design to create things relevant to people. I’m not talking about aesthetics, but real design: a human-centered take on how things should work, look, and feel.

Design Thinking, the name given to this powerful approach, can bridge engineering, the arts, and a deep understanding of people and the things surrounding them.

I believe Design Thinking and Service Design (which you will learn more about in this program) should be available to everyone. That is what I’ve been working on since I left my position as the founder and CEO for Latin America of the pioneer global service design agency live|work, to start the Sprint Master’s community* and the Design Sprint School.

During the years following my book The Service Startup :: Design Thinking gets Lean publication, I've designed accelerator programs for companies like Cisco in Silicon Valley, and mentored Design Sprints for private and public organizations in more than 30 countries.

This program was designed based on the experiences generated by the learnings, struggles, and plurality of thinking produced by these initiatives. It was conceived to answer the question: “How can we make Design Sprint education available to every entrepreneur and intrapreneur on Earth while remaining a small, lean, and community-driven organization?”. Two years and lots (I mean…lots) of prototypes later, this is it.

I’m thrilled to have you here. My wish is that the concepts and tools presented here will equip you to create relevant solutions for, by, and with the people you want to serve. This is the path of the Sprint Master, and it will be an honor for our team to walk down this path with you.


Tenny Pinheiro :: Founder @ Design Sprint School
Published books, articles, research and links @

* is a global community of sprint masters in active duty working to change the world one sprint at a time.