Over the years I have collected methods, I’ve used them, tested them and broken them. Depending on where I am in the design process and the problem I am trying to solve I might lean on one to help.

Cue Crazy Eights. Crazy Eights is a core Design Sprint Method. This technique is best used within the ideation stage where ideas should come quicker since you have insights to draw upon. The purpose is to generate a number of different ideas within a short period of time. You ought to end up with one or a small number of ideas which can then be turned into a prototype. In order to find out the best answer or solution to your initial question or problem, it is important to test the idea with real users.

There are certain methods that need design knowledge but this isn’t one of those. This technique can be run individually but it’s also a great tool to get the entire team involved in:

For design to succeed and thrive in an environment of rapid iteration and intense measurability, it needs to involve non-designers intensively.

Here’s how it works if you run it with your team:

  • Stock up on A3 paper, pens, coloured dot stickers or coloured pens.
  • Assign someone to be the timekeeper so you are not distracted by the clock.
  • Fold the paper into 8 different sections.

The facilitator sets a timer for a short amount of time, this is up to your discretion. You can set the timer for six minutes (45 seconds on each sketch) or even four minutes (30 seconds on each sketch). I tend to use eight minutes for this exercise; a minute per sketch.

Silent sketching

It's important to remind participants that these sketches do not need to be perfect. The sketches should be rough. The purpose of the exercise is to generate a variety of ideas. To put people at ease, show some examples to set the expectations for the quality of sketches.

Sketch example

Set the timer and ask the participants to start sketching. The facilitator should prompt them to start a new sketch every minute. Emphasize that they shouldn’t limit themselves. Make sure they get all their ideas out and approach this with an open mind. At this stage it is about the quantity of ideas, not the quality. It is normal for participants to feel rushed. It's part of the process.


Time for feedback

When the eight minutes are up, you should have a collection of ideas. Some unexpected, some weird, some that just might work. Each participant then presents their top three ideas to the rest of the team for feedback.

Dot voting is a handy tool where each team member votes for ideas, usually 3 votes each. Together, evaluate the set of ideas. Make sure they don't judge during this period. Apply a “yes, and…” rather than a “no…” or “yes, but…” mentality.

Dot voting

Depending on time, you could run another round of eight sketches building upon one another’s ideas. Then come back together and select the ideas that answer the design challenge in the most interesting way. The chosen ideas can then be worked on and perhaps made into a prototype to test.


This is a great technique to get team members to work collaboratively in a cost-efficient way. I often use this technique if I have a limited amount of time and want to get all of my ideas out without filter.

Great ideas can come from anywhere, even in under 8 minutes.

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