How to get a remote project going | QLab Insights

"These two days were very intense. I learn many useful things for the project and my future dream career. I like using the Miro board (...); it's so smart! I feel very motivated thanks to the great team and the conversations with important people..."

Julia Jasińska, QLab Sprint No. 5 team member, student of Social Media and Arts at Leiden University/Netherlands.

Four days ago, we started our fifth QLab Sprint with a team from Ecuador, Poland, India and Turkey. These five students come from different disciplines, such as Social Media and Arts, Energy Engineering, Integrated Design and Architecture, Urban Development and Design, and Sustainability and Governance. They study at different universities in Europe, have never met, and have grown together as a team from day one.

Proper preparation is the key

For each QLab Sprint, we typically receive about 30 applications from students worldwide, and we invite ten to twelve people for an interview. After the interviews, we inform the applicants within the promised 48 hours if they will be part of the next Sprint team. Team members then receive a range of information to ensure they are well prepared, such as:

  • A link to our miro board, our playground during the sprint, where we provide sources on our challenge and the templates we use.
  • A detailed agenda for the first two days.
  • A template for the offer they should make to us.
  • The guide to preparing a Pecha Kucha to introduce yourself on kick-off day.
  • The invitation to a WhatsApp group where they can exchange ideas in advance.

One week before the start of the Sprint, our team members are given access to MS Teams and Outlook. We then provide links to our MSTeams meetings, such as our Daily, Meeting the Expert (Day 1), Meeting the Client (2), Weekly, Retrospective, Final Presentation, and the well-deserved Remote Party on the last day of the Sprint.

The starting signal

On the first day, we meet at 9 a.m., and future team members share insights into their personal lives, values, visions and aspirations through their Pecha Kuchas. This approach helps us connect emotionally and helps team members practice storytelling - an essential element of the QLab Sprint.

Then we welcome our external expert to share his knowledge about the challenge we must address in the coming weeks. This input is a good starting point for our work. Notes are collected on the miro board, as we strive to gather all our thoughts - fragments that will merge into a clear picture during the process.

This approach is already based on design thinking, not only a method for creative problem solving but also a powerful tool for bringing people from different disciplines together at eye level to foster co-development and collaboration.

The team starts by gathering more information about the challenge provided by our customers and prepares questions for them when we meet them on the second day of the QLab Sprint.

Meeting with the customer

On the second day, from 9 to 10:30, the team members and the client meet for the first time. After introducing ourselves, the client tells us something about his company, and we discuss expectations and gather as much information as possible on our Miro board.

After saying goodbye to our client, we reflected on the meeting and did further research on the topic, already thinking about possible interview partners who could support us with their knowledge.
The second day ends with a wrap-up, where we focus on the most critical insights the team has gathered so far.

The final task of our second QLab Sprint day is for each team member to write a newspaper article about what we will have achieved by the end of the project: We engage with the team's storytelling skills and check whether we are on the same track.

Two very intensive days came to an end and the team had already grown together.

"I just started working for a company that cares about sustainability, and I have the best teammates who are proactively working to solve a real problem."

Yash Agarwal, team member of QLab Sprint No. 5, student of energy engineering, BTU Cottbus.

Next time I will tell you how we organize our QLab Sprint. Stay tuned!

Andrea Kuhfuss, co-founder and managing director of QLab Think Tank GmbH

Design Thinking Method Training

Online Workshop | QLab Think Tank GmbH

Language: German

Price: €450,- (€150,- for students)

November 22, 2023
09:30 - 17:30

Casino Futur, Bremen

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