Using design sprints to drive innovation and boost loyalty even during a global pandemic


Monetary rewards were seen as the best way to boost customer loyalty, but they were proving costly. Zenjob’s ambition was to understand if there were more efficient and cost-effective ways to improve customer experience and develop a genuine sense of loyalty to the Zenjob brand.


Zenitech suggested the implementation of design sprints, a quick and cost-effective approach to gaining high quality data from users, before launching new products or services. A typical design sprint will include a cross-functional team of designers, developers, product managers and stakeholders to generate ideas, create a prototype and test a solution to a specific problem or challenge. The five-day process will help answer any unknowns, avoid endless stakeholder debates and evolve new opportunities.

In response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdowns and new ways of working, Zenitech were determined to prove that even in the event of a global pandemic, we could successfully utilise design sprints to drive innovation remotely. Such circumstances demanded careful planning to ensure domain mapping, collaboration, rapid ideation and user testing remained optimal, despite not being face-to-face.

Key insights

As expected, participants of the design sprint expressed a significant appreciation towards monetary rewards, with 89% stating this is a significant factor in their decision-making process. However, participants also expressed a high level of motivation towards other features of the prototypes; gamification, personalisation and employer/employee rating system.


100% of participants demonstrated an engagement boost with a hybrid model of frequent tangible rewards and goal-driven, intangible rewards, suggesting long-term retention.


By providing suggested jobs inline with recent shifts, experience and skills, this initiative delivered a more time-efficient method to find their next shift, avoiding stressful and sometimes endless passive scrolling.

Employer/employee rating system

Users recognised the benefits of a company/talent rating system to enhance their application decision process, as well as driving a positive relationship between both parties.
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Five key learnings from conducting remote design sprints

  1. Collaboration. Collaboration is pivotal to achieve success. Assembling a team with the right expertise, experience and technical knowledge is important. The remote approach enabled a broader range of roles, transcending geographical constraints and enabling enhanced collaboration.
  2. Communication. Pre-sprint checklists and strong communication will ensure you’re fully prepared. Creating a Slack or Teams channel for the team will ensure the team is ready and understands the requirements for the five days.
  3. Mental checkout. It’s difficult to gauge the team’s energy levels remotely. Take regular breaks to make sure the team is working to its maximum. Use the right tools to drive discussion and team input (our go to is Miro). It’s important to engage the full team and keep an equal balance between confident and shy individuals.
  4. Cost savings. Remote design sprints were proven to be successful and cost-effective; eliminating the need for travel, team lunches, office space and other workshop materials.
  5. Enjoy the time away from your emails. Fully include yourself in the process and switch off all methods of communications during workshops. Don’t be tempted to multitask.

User research cost savings

Findings from a study completed by IBM in 2018 concluded by implementing user research early in the product development process, organisations were able to reduce development time by 33%, as well as decreasing time to market by 50%. Without completing user research, organisations increase the risk of developing products that fail to meet the needs or expectations of their customers, potentially leading to expensive development revisions later.

Although Zenitech’s initial hypothesis was correct, there’s significant evidence linking other subconscious features to long-term engagement. By creating a more empathetic and stimulating user experience, Zenjob will ensure it’s always able to adapt to the evolving needs of its users, in turn creating long-term brand loyalty.

Zenitech continues to learn from each partnership. Working in partnership with Zenjob,
we were able to gain valuable insights into Zenjob’s customer’s world, eliminating the guesswork to aid future product development to build a truly engaging user experience. The pandemic has forced new ways of working and we’ve proved that, by continuously learning and developing our services, remote design sprints can still deliver successful results.

User research is critical to help reduce risk, improve user experience and increase innovation by understanding the needs, goals and behaviour of your users. The Zenitech Digital Practice is experienced to help deliver data-driven product recommendations and we would love to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.

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