What is an

Impact Sprint?

Impact Sprints bring together a team of people involved in the delivery of a service to understand the challenge they are facing. Whether the goal is to improve outcomes or make savings, working with your team we prototype solutions we think might address the challenge and test them with service users and staff. Through testing, we understand which ideas are going to make an impact in practice and not just in theory.

If you are grappling with a messy problem that has no obvious solution, an Impact Sprint could help you go from confusion to clarity, quickly. 

How they work

Depending on the complexity of the challenge our Impact Sprints can run for anything between one and 10 days. Regardless of the duration, we take your team through a structured process to help them make rapid progress on a challenge in a short space of time.

The Impact Sprint Process:


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The team conducts a deep dive into the root cause of the challenge they are facing. This phase often involves working directly with service users and senior leaders to get under the skin of the problem at hand and set a clear scope for the remainder of the sprint.


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The team ‘goes wide’ and develops a range of ideas free from the constraints of organisational norms to address their challenge.


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The team validates their ideas with service users, staff and senior leaders to make sure they are on the right track. With feedback, they iterate and improve their ideas ready for testing.


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The team prototypes and tests their ideas in a live environment. For front-line services this often means testing new processes on a small scale alongside the existing process to understand whether or not it’s more effective.


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The team makes final tweaks to their ideas, releases them into a live environment and in some cases develops a plan for how they will be scaled beyond the sprint.

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Our inspiration

We work with organisations dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in society. Traditional approaches to improving services assume it’s possible to design perfect solutions upfront, to deliver them within pre-determined timeframes and budgets and to predict the impact they will have in advance. For most of our clients, these approaches have failed.

Impact Sprints were inspired by practices from a range of pioneering organisations and make use of elements of Google Ventures’ ‘Design Sprint’, General Electric’s ‘GE Workout’ and Lean’s ‘Kaizen Blitz’.

Our team has honed this approach over a 10 year period; we have used Impact Sprints to successfully tackle challenges in the wide range of service areas including:

A borough-wide savings programme – to test and implement a range of new interventions aimed at reducing cost Hillingdon Council (£80m savings released)
No recourse to public funds – to prototype a new service to support service users with NRPF impacted by COVID-19
Health and Social Care Integration – to prototype Community Resource Teams in rural North Wales
Homelessness – to avoid delays and unnecessary use of temporary accommodation
Mental Health – working with a Mental Health Hospital to reduce the length of hospital stays
Children’s Social Care and Early Help – to bring an outcomes focus to the referral process and to design a new Early Help Offer
ICT and Digital – to design a new organisational model and strategy
SEND and transitions – to address the cliff-edge experience of children transitioning to adulthood
Economy – as a means of developing a borough-wide economic plan
Planning – to reduce the time it took to approve planning applications and to reduce an overwhelming backlog of overdue applications
Children’s services – to reduce bureaucracy across the service to enable staff to do more direct work with children and families

“Prior to working with Basis, our Children’s Services Business Intelligence team was stuck on a reporting treadmill, insular in our teamwork approach and there was a lack of confidence in our services from senior leaders. After the weeklong impact sprint, Basis was able to transform the way we work. Now we are collaborating on projects, skill sharing and creating dynamic reports that bring data to life. Our relationships with other services have been given a massive boost. We work closely with our customers with a new outward facing approach and senior leaders are engaged and enthusiastic to see what we come up with next. The change was monumental and immediate and there wasn’t a single person connected to the sprint that didn’t have a positive experience.”

Nick Reimink, Business Intelligence Manager

“After the Impact Sprint Event Basis facilitated with the Early Intervention Service in Wolverhampton, the team were on fire with energy. Over two days we were able to clarify our offer to the community, bring consistency to some of the interventions we use with children and families, design an evaluation approach to assess the impact of our work and ensure we had a common understanding of how we ensure the right professionals are working with our families at the right time. I can’t believe how much we achieved in two days. What’s been particularly helpful is that in addition to facilitating an event that enabled us to make real improvement at pace, Basis’s support enabled us to build our capacity in delivering similar events internally.”

Leah Arnold, The Service Manager at Wolverhampton

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