Using Design Sprints for Life Science Market Research

August 25, 2021
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A design sprint is an ideation process popular among innovative companies like Google, IDEO, Nest, Flatiron, and Medium. Google Ventures describes the five-day process as “a shortcut to learning without building and launching.”At DeciBio, our penchant for designing forward-thinking, business intelligence tools had us asking, “How can we break the mold that’s used to make traditional market research reports?” Our customers are pushing established limits in their respective markets, and they need life science market research that does the same.


The typical design sprint takes five days to map the problem, sketch solutions, test hypotheses, and develop a prototype. We condensed these steps into about two days. Why sprint through a sprint? In a word: logistics. Anyone at a fast-growing company can appreciate the logistical challenge of gathering five to six experts in one location for an entire workweek. The two-day process turned out to be ideal for us.First, we came up with several hypotheses around customers’ future needs for life science and clinical diagnostics market research. We then spent time proving and disproving our hypotheses by talking with customers. The output from this process was converted into what we call “product specifications.”

Rapid Prototyping

With preliminary specifications in hand, we broke out into smaller groups to sketch crude versions of the intended products. The team then reconvened to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. The final product is usually a combination of ideas generated by the sprint.


Design sprints have given us, as a company, a better understanding of our target customers, their wants and needs, and the current products on the market that help them perform at work. Applying design sprint insights, we’ve improved our business intelligence tools, like our MarketBooks and BioMAPS, in ways that better anticipate our customers’ unmet and future needs.MarketBooks. We transformed our MarketBook from an Excel-based tool into a web-based platform that improved the user experience. Afterward, we saw increasing levels of customer satisfaction and higher retention rates.BioMAPs. Customers told us that traditional databases of biomarkers lacked the level of granularity they expected. Using the design sprint process, we created a platform to enhance data exploration capabilities within clinical trial analysis.Competitive Intelligence (CI) Tools. We learned that customers were finding it difficult to track competitor data. Often, they needed to track more than one hundred companies in a particular space. A DeciBio design sprint yielded the CI Tool dashboard, which aggregates data from many sources and enables users to prioritize relevant data.

We’ve also applied the design sprint process to our life science consulting work. To learn more about our market intelligence products or to discuss your custom market research needs, contact us.

Author | Pranay Madan

Linkedin | madan@decibio.comPranay Madan is a Data Product Manager with experience creating analytical tools to support competitive landscape analysis, voice of customer research, product specification assessment and market entry strategy products.Connect with him on LinkedIn.Contact Pranay and the DeciBio team to get the insights you need to accelerate innovation in your market.Disclaimer: Companies listed above may be DeciBio Consulting clients and/or customers

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