What is a Design Sprint?

A design sprint uses design thinking and innovation techniques to solve complex problems throughout co-creation, rapid prototyping, and qualitative testing. VCU da Vinci Center’s Design Sprints are multi-week opportunities to engage in workshops and learning opportunities that take early stage ideas and IDEATE, TEST, and PROTOTYPE alongside community mentors and subject matter experts.

VCU da Vinci Center Design Sprints open to all VCU students and free.


How Design Sprints Work

  • 2 week commitment: February 15 - February 28
  • Network with other students, community mentors, and VCU alumni
  • Join a team
  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Refine your solutions
  • Develop a low fidelity prototype, executive summary, and pitch deck
  • Pitch your solution
  • Compete for a $250 award


Students will…

  • Earn an internationally recognized IDEO-based design thinking certification
  • Receive a free Adobe Creative Cloud license
  • Work on cross-disciplinary teams
  • Gain design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurial skills
  • Receive digital badges through Credly’s Acclaim Platform
  • Work with mentors from the Richmond Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  • Prepare for VCU Pre-X and Demo Day


Current Tracks:

Sprint Schedule

February 9Registration DeadlineThere is not an application for the Design Sprints but we do ask that all participants register by 11:59pm on February 9.
Monday - Friday: 10am-11amFireside ChatsEach day hear from a community expert and da Vinci Alumni in both live and pre-recorded sessions that will focus on relevant topics such as: ecosystem resources, marketing, failure, growth/scaling, and fundraising. Students are encouraged to attend live sessions to ask questions.
Monday, 2/15: 5pm-8pmDesign Sprint KickoffAll sprint tracks will meet to go over the program and host a virtual networking session.
Wednesday, 2/17: 5pm-8pm Training & Team Selection All sprint tracks will come together for Design Thinking Training. The remainder of the session will be used to network and form teams.
Thursday, 2/18: 5pm-8pm Meet Your Cohort Go over all deliverables and meet the mentors from your cohort.
Monday, 2/22: 5pm-8pm Executive Summary Review examples of successful executive summaries. Teams will break out to work together and with mentors.
Wednesday, 2/24: 5pm-8pm Pitch Deck Review examples and tips of successful pitch decks. Teams will break out to work together and with mentors.
Thursday, 2/25: 5pm-8pm Pitch Practice & Wrap Party Teams will pitch to the large group for feedback and the session will end with a virtual celebration of completion of the Sprint. 
Sunday, 2/28Deliverables DueAll deliverables due by 11:59pm to be considered for the $250 award.
Friday, 3/5Winners AnnouncedEach cohort will announce the awardees through email.


VCU Demo Day

Every year the da Vinci Center hosts VCU Demo Day to highlight student ventures and award prize money. Last year VCU Pre-X and VCU Healthcare Innovation Sprint came together to compete for 2 top prizes of $5k and 2 People’s Choice Awards for $500. Eight teams from VCU Pre-X participated in a semester-long program to identify, support, and launch high growth and high potential startups and founders. And eight teams joined a 2-week Healthcare Innovation Sprint to explore solutions related to COVID-19 through health care and innovation.



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