Strategy Sessions: Aligning Vision and Objectives

The Initial Discovery Session: Laying the Groundwork

Before delving into the value of an Emory strategy session, it’s essential to understand the role of the initial discovery session. This phase is where teams come together to align on the project’s goals, understand the problem space, and gather insights into the user’s needs and business context. It’s a critical step for ensuring that everyone starts the strategy session and following design sprint with a shared understanding and a clear focus. Learn more here.

Strategy is simple, but simple is complex.

The Value of Strategy Sessions

Aligning Vision and Objectives

A strategy session before the design sprint serves as a “bridge” between the discovery phase and the sprint itself. It’s a dedicated time for the team to align on the strategic vision, objectives, and key questions that the design sprint aims to answer. This alignment is crucial for setting a clear direction and ensuring that the sprint’s activities are strategically focused on achieving the project’s overarching goals.

Prioritizing Challenges and Solutions

With a wealth of information and insights gathered during the discovery phase, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of potential challenges and solutions. A strategy session helps the team prioritize these based on their strategic importance, feasibility, and potential impact. This prioritization ensures that the design sprint focuses on the most critical and high-value challenges, making the best use of the limited time available.

Identifying Key Stakeholders and Resources

Strategy sessions also play a crucial role in identifying the key stakeholders who need to be involved or informed about the sprint’s outcomes. This includes determining who should be part of the sprint team and who will be the decision-makers. Additionally, it’s a time to ensure that all necessary resources, such as user data, technical tools, and subject matter experts, are available and accessible for the sprint.

The Strategic Role Throughout the Design Process

Integrating strategy sessions at this stage does more than just set the stage for a successful design sprint, it embeds a strategic mindset throughout the design process. This discipline ensures that every decision and prototype is grounded in a clear understanding of the business context, user needs, and strategic objectives. It also increases the chances of developing solutions that are both innovative and practical while aligning outcomes of the design sprint with the broader strategic goals of the organization.


The integration of strategy sessions before beginning a design sprint, following an initial discovery session, is not just beneficial—it’s essential for maximizing the value of the design sprint process. These sessions ensure that the team is aligned, focused, and equipped to tackle the most important challenges with a strategic lens. By doing so, organizations can enhance the effectiveness of their design sprints, leading to solutions that are not only creative and user-centered but also strategically aligned and poised for success.

In the fast-paced world of innovation, the strategic layer added by these sessions can be the difference between a good idea and a transformative solution. As such, any team looking to leverage design sprints should consider these strategy sessions as a critical component of their process, ensuring that every sprint is a strategic, focused, and valuable step towards achieving their goals.

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