Design Sprint for Recreation

How it started

When Level Three and Four Lockdown suddenly came upon us, many programmes and facilities in our sector were immediately required to shut down. However, that doesn't mean we stopped caring for our communities.

A question for many of us was - how to respond quickly and appropriately so as to continue to provide high quality recreation opportunities for our communities.

Enter the Design Sprint.

The Design Sprint process

A Design Sprint is actually a five-day product development process that brings a team together for to collaborate, design and prototype a new company product without the expense of having to develop it.

Here is a summary of the process.

Adapting a Design Sprint process for our times

Well we didn't have five days and couldn't get people together in a room, so we decided on a topic (that would be Monday's task) which was: recreation for children, young people and whānau at home. We invited some of our members to join us for two hours online, adapted the process and developed some ideas for prototyping.

See the attached document for instructions on the short-cut process we used.

Each participant then:

  • Chose one of the ideas we developed
  • Built prototypes and tested them with target audiences during the following week
  • Met together again seven days later and shared what they had prototyped and learnt.

Case studies

Here's an example of a bit of quick prototyping:

Project: Low Impact Fitness on Facebook

Our great idea: Best way for seniors to exercise at home might just be Facebook Live classes

How we tested it: Created a closed Facebook group and invited our participants to join.


Outcome: Of the 120ish who regularly participate, at least 100 joined the group and participate from their homes. Group has been opened to Hutt City Council (HCC) Fitness Suite members and promoted to Lower Hutt residents through HCC facebook channels.

How you can use it

Who should you use this process with? Given that we decided to move at speed, we suggest that you use this process with audiences/customers you already know. The process as we've adapted it doesn't allow for full community engagement or co-design so best to use it with communities you already known to and have a good relationship with.

Please feel free to use any part of this process for developing your own prototypes. Please also share your projects, what you've learnt and any fire us any suggestions you have. We're all learning - fast - so let's make sure we learn from each other.

As you plan your programmes, you may also find these resources useful:

Get in touch with us

To find out more please contact Esther Bukholt, Community Recreation and Sport Programme Manager
PH: 027 697 2001

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