Using a to create a new hot water service

There’s growing interest in the idea that businesses could sell energy as a service. Confident we could sell Heat as a Service, we wanted to explore how to add Hot Water. After all, consumers will want to know they will get the hot water they need. We used a Design Sprint to see how far we could get in three days.

What is a Design Sprint?

Google Ventures created ‘Design Sprints’. They aim to reduce risk when bringing new products, services or features to market. They compress design thinking into five days to make good decisions, fast.

The Challenge


Before we could run our sprint, we had to solve three challenges:


1. Behavioural

Some of the team were new to the design sprint process and used to working at a slower pace.

2. Procedural

We were using a process designed to run over five days, when we only had three.

3. Comprehension

There is no getting around it, hot water is a complex topic. Some team members knew a lot more about it than others.


To solve these challenges, we started with a teach-in and customised the process to fit into three days.

"We’ve been in each other’s eyes and ears for 3 days. We now feel like a team and understand each other's role much better."

Amal Anaam, User Researcher

Our Approach

We built an online proof of concept called Water Gremlins that:

  • asked users how they use hot water (with a survey we validated)
  • estimated the cost of the water and energy (with a pricing model we developed)
  • showed users how much water they were using and recommended a level of service.


The Result

% understood the proposition
% were interested in finding out how to get it


The sprint ended by asking the rest of our office to give us some feedback on the Water Gremlins tool. We thanked those who did by giving them a chance to win a smart Hydrao showerhead. Naturally we asked them what they thought of it to find out if it could help deliver a real hot water service in future.

We also learnt a lot about how to work as a cross-functional team. People found out what pressures others were under, and the process gave everyone a voice.


We can help customise Design Sprints to fit your requirements be that product or service.

Come and see us for a friendly

chat over a cuppa.


Cannon House, 18 The Priory Queensway

Birmingham B4 6BS8

We love small print. Said nobody, ever.