Accelerating innovation: Delivering customer value fast with ‘Crazy-8s’

20 May 2024 • 4 min read

Team assessing ideas on post-its

The early bird catches the customer; is your business getting out there early enough? Between record interest-rates and the widespread adoption of AI, there’s real pressure on businesses to do more with less right now - and to deliver it faster than their competitors. But with the time pressure on, is it actually possible to step back, analyse your customer challenges and think creatively about solving them? Learn how 600 CEOs are responding to the challenge, and how their decisions are impacting businesses, in our 2024 report. 


Design sprint techniques like Crazy 8s actually thrive on your time crunch, and are known to massively accelerate creative problem-solving. In this blog, Ruth McDonald shares what Crazy Eights are all about, and how to structure a session for your team.


What is the Crazy 8s technique?

Crazy-8s is a great way to produce lots of diverse ideas quickly, both as an individual and in a team setting. It’s best used in the early stages of ideation, whether you’re brainstorming new product features, designing user experiences or improving your buyer journey.

The concept is really simple: individuals get eight minutes to sketch eight ideas in eight boxes, either on folded paper or in a digital template. There’s no time to get artistic with these sketches, or to critique, overthink or weed out ideas - it’s all about communicating as many as possible and mining for quality later. The time pressure prompts your team to think outside their comfort zone and flow through ideas, and the frenzy can produce some weird, wild and genuinely game-changing solutions (hence the ‘crazy’). With the low time commitment, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this process - it encourages innovative thinking and breakthrough ideas, helps your team overcome creative blocks, and it’s incredibly efficient.  


How to structure a Crazy-8s session

Assemble your team: Bring together a diverse team to take part in the brainstorming session. Remember, the more varied your team is in background, experience and skillset; the greater range of creativity your collective responses will have. 

Set the scene: Establish a comfortable judgement-free environment where your team can feel at ease. Stress that psychological safety is key - your team should know that there’s no such thing as a bad idea, and taking risks is encouraged. 

Present the challenge: Clearly outline the customer problem or challenge you’re aiming to solve, in a way that’s easy for all to understand. The solution should be open to diverse interpretation. 

Lightning demos: Present existing solutions from across the industry or wider marketplace, in a quick-fire show-and-tell session. This should get creative juices flowing, and give your team an idea of what they like, don’t like, and what’s missing from the market. 

Set your time limit: Allocate eight minutes for the Crazy 8's exercise. This time limit inspires a sense of urgency and prevents overthinking; fostering fast and instinctive idea generation.

Fold and flow: If you’re in person, provide each participant with a sheet of paper and instruct them to fold it into eight sections, labelling each with a number. Once prepared, kick off the timer and encourage the free flow of ideas through sketches, keywords or visual representations. If you’re working remotely, Figma and Miro are great tools to run the session, with stickers, photos and icons as added features for quick communication.

Share and discuss: Once the buzzer’s gone, catch your breath and then have each participant present their ideas. Again, stress that they’re in a judgement free zone. Encourage open discussions, feedback and the exploration of themes emerging between different concepts.

Refine and select: Your Crazy-8s session is complete; hopefully it was a successful one! Next steps include the review, organisation and evaluation of your collective ideas, before narrowing down and refining the most promising.


Where Crazy-8s can accelerate innovation in your business


Creating new products: Want to develop a new product or make an existing one more responsive to customer needs? Try Crazy 8s to come up with wide-ranging ideas for features, designs or ways to promote it.

Better customer experiences: Customer experience is key in today’s market, and figuring out how to improve yours could be game-changing. Use Crazy 8s to brainstorm improvements to your website or app interface; or to make key touchpoints with your brand even more memorable. 

Marketing ideas: Crazy 8s can help your team come up with fresh advertising ideas that intuitively connect with your audience’s goals.

Improving work processes: If you're dealing with problems or hold-ups in how things get done, Crazy 8s can help you think of ways to make things smoother, save money, or work more efficiently.


Solve business problems with a fresh perspective


By integrating 'Crazy 8' ideation into your organisation’s innovation framework, you’ll be positioned to respond quickly to evolving customer needs and market dynamics. Plus, the process not only accelerates problem-solving; it feeds your team's long-term collaboration and experimentation culture. 


Harnessed at the start of a design process, Crazy-8s can set the scene and momentum for swift prototyping and validation; ultimately prompting faster time-to-market. Need some help running your sessions or accelerating your ideas into action? Our Product Strategy experts can help - learn more about our approach




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