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I was fortunate enough to find a group of students who wanted to do a full 7-hour, 5-day Sprint. I became Sprint facilitator, organized a slew of design prompts, activities, and slide shows. Our first two days were jam-packed with activities including expert interviews, Journey mapping, and crazy eights to name a few. Day 3 was solely dedicated to prototyping and recruiting. Day 4 was to conduct user testing.

Here is a brief overview of our sprint journey:

Day 1: Define the Challenge & Creating Solutions
Day 2: Deciding on Solutions & Storyboarding 
Day 3: Prototyping
Day 4: User Testing
Day 5: Optional* Recap Day, Extra-Time, Additional User Testing, Insights, and User Feedback Edits

Wastley: Welcome

Meet The Team

professional portrait of Christina

Christina Maury

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Facilitator & Organizer 

professional portrait of Linh Le

Linh Le

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Lead Designer & The Decider

professional portrait of Bob Ruediger

Bob Ruediger

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Lead Interviewer

professional portrait of Christina Maresca

Christina Maresca

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Lead Recruiter

professional portrait of Janice Jons

Janice Jons

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Designer & Researcher

professional portrait of Kathrina Tacastacas

Kathrina Tacastacas

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Designer & Researcher


Once I assembled my team, we voted on several topics, ultimately choosing food waste reduction. With the aim to create a new product that's never been seen before. 

Wastely is an app that alows users to reduce their food waste footprint. Thus making it easy for users to find a collection of resources, recipes, new skills, and organizations, all while rewarding the user.


After thorough research, I decided to follow AJ&Smarts' 4-day design sprint process. Jake Knapp, a consultant for AJ&Smart agency perfected, through much trial and error, the original 5-day design sprint into 4 days, with a 5th optional day.




Defining the Challenge & Creating Solutions


How Might We...?

Frame your interview notes into questions.

We used the “How might we…?” method, to determine our long term goals. Each member wrote insights from the interview and then mapped out to create the following categories:

  • Creative Cooking & Recipes

  • Social Status

  • Sharing Information & Ideas

  • Shifting Perspectives & Attitudes Towards Food Waste

  • Global Accessibility

  • Reduce Waste

Dot voting was then used to narrow down our questions for our Long Term Goals.

"Tip: Remember that your “How Might We” question should not be so broad or narrow. A well-framed “HMW” question will contain the right amount of inspiration for you to quickly start brainstorming potential solutions." -Google Slide #13

Business Plan
Video Conference

Expert Interview

I was able to line up our expert interview with Alma Nejenhuis.

Alma started her waste reduction journey with her mom growing up and has since founded her own co-op, as well as serves on the board of another, all while studying for her Masters in Food Waste and Environmental Studies in the Netherlands. We were excited to have an expert with a wealth of knowledge with the ability to explain complex problems in layman's terms.


During the interview, we learned most food waste begins at the home and unfortunately, there are a wide range of obstacles that make it difficult to overcome. One particular difficulty Alma stated was, there aren't enough convenient ways for people to access reliable information about what they can do with their extra food. We also need to educate more, to make the most out of our purchases.

Can we...? Brainstorming

Ask: How could we fail? Turn these fears into questions we can answer.

We used the “Can we…?” method, to determine our sprint questions. Each member wrote pessimistic, easily answerable Yes/No questions that they belive would will prevent our most optimistic long term goals.

Again, dot voting was then used to narrow down our Sprint Questions.

Writing on Sticky Notes

Sprint Questions

1. Can we create a product that encourages people from all backgrounds to share creative food waste reduction ideas?

2. Can we reward users for sharing their ideas and information?

3. Can we ensure that the information is always safe and reliable?

Salad in a Jar

Long Term Goals

1. Provide a platform where users can share and retrieve helpful ideas regardless of their background and socio-economic status.

2. Make reliable information about food waste reduction and a community of helpful users accessible and easy to find.

Writing on Glass

Story Mapping

To pinpoint the area where we could make the biggest impact, we used story mapping to determine the high-level steps required to achieve our goal. This was the first time in the sprint where our team was not on the same page which resulted in conflicting ideas about what exactly we should be mapping. Because time was limited, we decided to map the entire process of cooking at home from the planning stages to what happens after a meal.


By using map targeting and looking at where our sprint questions fit into the story map, we found an interesting correlation between our questions and the planning phase of grocery shopping. At this point, it was decided that we would create a product to help users reduce their food waste at home by making smarter decisions about the food they already have and what they plan to buy.

Lightning Demo

Once we narrowed down the problem space, each member was assigned with task of preparing a Google Slides presentation for a lightning demo of competitor and analogous products that have already explored this problem space. I focused my presentation on apps that helped users find recipes and create shopping lists based on the food they already have in their fridge or pantry. My suggestion was to create a product with a similar purpose but with suggestions that prioritized reducing food waste as much as possible.


Several UI elements presented during the lightning demo, including the color scheme, were eventually included in the final prototype that was used for testing on day four.

Giving a Presentation
Drawing a Straight Line

Crazy Eights

As we approached the end of day one, it was time to develop these rough concepts into solutions. To start the process, we used a technique called “crazy eights”, where you have eight minutes total to draw eight sketches of user interaction, essentially, 60 seconds for each panel.

The Final Concept

The final activity for the day prompted each of my colleagues to create a stand-alone, three-panel storyboard based on all the previous exercises.


• Choose an idea that you had previously from the past exercise to put more thought and detail into.

• Each sticky note is one frame in the storyboard. The sticky note should be used to draw the action that is happening. Use the room on the page to the side of the Post-it to give a brief explanation. Make sure that each frame is understandable without further verbal explanation.

• Fill in each frame in the storyboard.

• Give the storyboard a title that encapsulates what is happening.

Rules: Make it stand alone, keep it anonymous, give it a name" -Google Slide #30

Once completed, each board was anonymously posted to a FigJam file to be presented on day two.

Click the Heart Icon to vote on your favorite concept!


Deciding on Solutions & Storyboarding

Prototype Designer
Improv Group
Improv Group

Phase 2: Diverge

Phase 2 is all about using individual work and input to align towards a common goal. We will complete our understanding of the process and then go through various exercises designed to arrive at designs that align toward a common goal.


  • Have a mindset of "Yes and"

  • Constantly ask “How might we?” 

-Google Slide #32

Improv Group

Art Museum

We opened up Day 2, with the unveiling-- each person took their first look at each others storyboards. -Google Slide #33

Heat Maps

From here, we created our first heat maps, which allowed everyone to unlimtedly vote for the best ideas and features per project. This was also the time to ask questions (posted on sticky notes).


Afterwards I, as the facilitator, conducted several speed critiques, where I summarized each storyboard, with focus on the heat maps and tried to answer anyone questions related to each concept.


* Note: When storyboarding for this process the design needs to be able to “speak for itself.” If the design wasn't clear to me, how will users get it? 


I then opened the room up for discussion.

Women looking at art
Improv Group

The Super Vote

To make a final decision, the straw poll method was used. Each member was allowed a single vote and could explain their rationale by writing a concise reason on a sticky note to accompany the vote. After the votes were revealed, our decider was given time to examine everything one final time before casting the deciding “super vote.”


Linh used her vote on a storyboard titled “The Google of Food Waste Reduction” which was designed by Christina Maresca. The storyboard features an app with a simple home screen that allows users the option to give or receive extra food, to chat with other community members, and to learn ways to reduce their food waste. Each of these features were also wireframed on the two remaining slides.

Improv Group

User Test Flow

One issue that was immediately apparent was that our chosen concept was a good collection of features, but it didn’t give us a complete flow for our user tests. When making her decision, Linh suggested incorporating some of the more promising features from other storyboards (including my concept for tailoring recipes to a user’s inventory). This gave us plenty of ideas to work with when designing our user test flow.


The first phase of creating a finalized user test flow was for each member to individually write six action steps. As was done with previous activities, the ideas were presented to the group for voting and in the end the action steps which I wrote were chosen to use as the foundation for our user test flow.

Mother and Daughter
Improv Group
Designing an Application


Armed with our long term goals, sprint questions, final concept, and action steps, the rest of day two was dedicated to drawing the storyboard for our prototype. Our initial flow consisted of eight screens starting with an entry point of signing up for the app and the success criteria of users finding a reliable resource on the app for using the food they already have. With the storyboard completed, day two came to a close with a solid idea chosen and the plans for a prototype completed.




Day 3:
Prototyping & Recruiting

Day three was devoted almost entirely to creating the prototype in Figma. However, Christina Maresca, our lead recurter, preped our participants, as well as assisted in writing a finalized test script.

Throught the day, we ran several trial runs to ensure that the prototype was in working order, and that the tasks and script aligned with our long term goals and sprint questions.

Interview Script 

Our script was very basic, as this was most of the teams first time interviewing users. It included:

• Personal demographics-- to provide a wide array of views.

• General background questions-- to ensure we were speaking with our target market.

• Task Questions-- which allined with our sprint goals.

You can read the full script below

User Testing

User Testing

Mother and Child
Improv Group
Person Participating in Video Call


The participants for user testing were recruited on day three from various social media outlets. We specifically targeted participants who were responsible for the grocery shopping and meal planning in their household.

  • Aurelia K. - Visual Designer, New Jersey, USA, 35+

  • Tugce G. - Research Consultant, London, UK, 31-35

  • Kelsey L. - Student, Maryland, USA, 25-30

  • Samantha L. - Student, Paris, France, 31-35

  • Gabrielle N. - Purchaser, Washington, USA, 25-30


After a brief introduction and some simple background questions, participants were presented with the following tasks during the user tests:

1. You have extra food that you want to find a use for...try to use the app to input the food you currently have in your fridge/pantry to get suggestions on what to do with it.

2. Now that you’ve added your food to the app, find a great meal idea for you to use after you come back from shopping later.

3. You want to see what other people are saying about alternative food waste reduction options such as fermentation...where