The Creative Jam is a night of portfolio critique, speakers, and a lighting design competition hosted by Adobe. I was chatting with one of the product leads on Slack and he invited me to complete. My first answer was, “hell no”. After thinking about it, I decided to challenge myself and my comfort zone.

Spoiler alert: We didn’t win

How’s the Jam go down?

The challenge: work in a two person team to create a concept for an app, design a prototype using Adobe XD, and present it to the audience. Oh, you have to do it in three hours, using a prompt they only reveal when the clock starts! 😳

Why did you do it?

I’ve been using Design Sprints, and other similar techniques to help facilitate design workshop with my clients. I wanted to know what would happen if I smooshed a four to five day process in to three hours. How much time I could compress and still make a demoable product.

I decided to level up the challenge by partnering with design whom I had never met. We spoke twice before the Jam to make were on the same wave length about how to tackle the challenge. She had experience with design sprints too. So, we modified the framework to use for the challenge.

Our practice

Big idea (30 min)

We discussed ideas from the prompt. And narrowed down our ideas to something we thought would be interesting and we could complete in the time available.

How Might Wes (30 min)

Since we didn’t have an experts to interview, we talked through our two leading idea to reach final decision. While talking we took notes using the “How Might We” format. Based on what we had more answers to, we choose a product direction.

Journey Map (10 min)

We drew our a basic journey a user could take using our app and identified the primary screens we’d use to illustrate the journey.

Sketches (30 min)

We sketched separately. Took breaks to bounce ideas off each other. And, did some quick story boarding.

Align and Assign (10 min)

Reviewed out sketches and decided what to move forward with. We then divided the workload and got moving on the app.

Build (70 min)

My partner worked on a color pallet, the logo, and images. I dove into the screens and prototype flow.

What did you do?

The prompt: “#1”.

That’s a pretty broad, any thing goes kind of prompt. But instead of freaking out, we started out process. Our two leading concepts were, 1. A gym app that only show who’s in first place (second place is just the first looser), 2. An augmented reality app that reveals historical locations that Philly did first.

We decided to hitch our wagons to the city’s pride of the recent the Super Bowl win, and go with the Phill #1 theme.

What did you learn?

Using a framework like this can feel silly/uncomfortable, but you get to a testable (or in our case a demoable) solution with out endless guessing, discussion, or procrastination. To paraphrase Chuck Close, creativity is what happens when you show up and do the work.

That’s what Design Sprint help you do — shut up and work, together.