“Design Sprint” vs “Design Jam”

Diagram showing differences between Design Sprint (reactive, convergent) vs. Design Jam (proactive, divergent)
Slide from a presentation to my team earlier this year

"Design Sprint" has been contorted and somewhat abused over the years. For some it means a regimented 5-day process for answering specific business questions, for others it means open-ended exploration, and for others anything in between.

Ambiguity on the purpose of a "sprint" leads to non-design stakeholders questioning the value of said sprint, among other issues.

Here's the direction I gave my team earlier this year to use these specific terms:

✣ Design Sprint = Reactive. Accelerate convergent solutions to clearly defined problems.

✣ Design Jam = Proactive. Generate divergent ideas that challenge and broaden our thinking.

Labels are never perfect, but the point was to use these labels in preparation for a Sprint or Jam (including calendar invite titles) and clearly state the purpose of their time away from the usual sprint hustle, be it reactive or proactive, convergent or divergent.

Whatever the term you prefer to use, be clear about the intended purpose and outcome of your [insert preferred label].

And don't go cheap on proactive, divergent thinking! This is one of Design's greatest superpowers — setting aside time to ask "what if?" and not just "how can we solve X faster?"