Project Design Sprint Weekend

What is the Project Design Sprint Weekend (PDSW)?

It is a Weekend-long Sprint (in scrum: “a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review”) to further Design (“create, execute, or construct according to plan”) Projects pitched at the barcamps.

For first hand experiences, visit the teams’ blog posts: FinTech for the Unbanked, Free the Data, LensShiftMHHub

How is it done?

With tons of flipcharts, post-its, markers, canvasses and many experts.

Keywords throughout the whole weekend are

  • proactivity,
  • autonomous work,
  • cooperation and collaboration,
  • openness, and
  • kindness.

Reflected in the teams, experts and the jury, gender equality and diversity are also values we actively put into practice.

First Evening (Day 0)

The first evening is about bringing the community together, setting the tone for the weekend, creating a safe and creative space and introducing the agenda and experts.

  • Icebreaker: After the intro, we highly recommend doing some icebreaker activities.
  • Pitching: All Project Owners (i.e. people who pitched at the barcamps) are welcome to pitch.
  • Voting: Barcamp-style, the audience votes and the top 10 projects get into the weekend.
  • Networking: The audience and teams that did not get into the weekend are allowed to join the top 10 projects for the weekend – the Project Owner decides if their expertise fits.
  • Briefing: People participating in the weekend stay and get a briefing about the final presentation, topic corners, experts, jury and deliverables.

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The Weekend (Days 1 and 2)


The weekend is organized around 3 topics crucial for social entrepreneurs at any stage:

  • Design Thinking Tools & Human-Centered Design
  • Social Business Models
  • Storytelling & Presentation Skills

These are the overarching topics that are represented in what we called Corners: dedicated areas in the rooms where experts and inspiring canvasses can be found throughout the weekend.

Team Spaces

Teams also have their own ‘Team Spaces’ on the walls, where they follow their own development with the help of the Kanban method, where the kanbans (i.e. cards) represent the 10 slides they need to deliver:

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  1. Project Name
  2. Topline
  3. Problem & Community
  4. Solution
  5. Technology
  6. Vision
  7. Business Model
  8. Actors
  9. Team
  10. Key Asks


For each slide, the teams have access to at least 2 experts throughout the weekend, and one of the 3 Corners also touches upon the topic. In addition to this, we recommend inviting experts that can contribute otherwise to the success of the event, e.g. if it is known in advance that multiple teams work in a similar area.

Experts are asked to come for 2-3 hours, give a 15-20 minute intro about their expertise in front of all teams, followed by a 30 minute open Q&A with topics relevant to all teams and with up to 30 minutes one-on-one time the teams can schedule with them directly.

Experts Berlin Summer 2017:

  • Adam B. Cochrane Service Designer, Factory Berlin, Organiser, Jam Berlin
  • Agustina Palermo, Theatre Director & Member, Open Design Collective
  • Benjamin Skirlo and Joan Perals, Creative Technologists IXDS
  • Dina Padalkina, Graphic Designer, Blogger, Senior Consultant in Technology Advisory, PwC
  • Edoardo Binda Zane, Freelancer, Stage Training, Creativity and Innovation and Team Building
  • Julia Belling, Creative Lead at Free Range Creatives ltd, Digital Art Director
  • Lucy Patterson, Community Scientist, Berlin ScienceHack Day
  • Matthias F. Rehfeld, Policy Advisor Digital World, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
  • Pablo Fernandez Vallejo, Experience Designer, Open Design Team
  • Sabrina Ravail, Marketing Consultant & Marketing and Strategy Lecturer at the University Paris Sud
  • Vicy Wenzelmann, Executive Director Global Innovation Gathering, Agile Consultant
  • Yatan Blumenthal-Vargas, Co-Founder & Chief Accelerator betahaus
  • Yi-Cong Lu, Designer, Be Able

Participants are also encouraged to share their expertise with others, help each other with their pitches and act as users/beneficiaries in mock-up situations.


Pitching & Jury

The weekend closes with another pitching session, where participants present their ideas in front of a jury. This is done Pecha Kucha style, i.e.

  • 10 slides,
  • maximum 10 words or 1 picture per slide,
  • 30 seconds for each slide,
  • followed by a 2 minute Q&A.

It is all completely transparent: participants are shared the criteria they are judged upon and jury members receive the same information in advance, creating complete transparency in the process (see Scoring Sheet below).

The rule of thumb for our jury was to ensure that it consists of people with a good knowledge of society, social entrepreneurship, open source technologies, and who understand the values and relevance of empowering a diverse set of ideas.

Jury Berlin Summer 2017:

  • Jan-Christoph Borchardt, Design Lead, Nextcloud
  • Ivan Juric, Advisor, Guerrilla Foundation
  • Polina Malaja, Legal Team Lead, Free Software Foundation Europe
  • Matthias Scheffelmeier, Co-Director Ashoka Europe
  • Nakeema Stefflbauer, Harvard PhD, Founder FrauenLoop

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Other resources

PDSW Outline

SDI Pitch Deck

Scoring Sheet