I have started to notice people talking about this new fast method of coming up with a product/UX design called "Design Sprint". Can anyone elaborate on what it is?
You might be referring to Google Venture's "Design Sprint" process: http://www.gv.com/lib/the-product-design-sprint-a-five-day-recipe-for-startups.
They've basically created a highly condensed, 5-day "sprint" where they help clients:
- Understand a design problem
- Develop as many potential solutions as possible
- Pick the best solutions and start creating user stories
- Rapidly develop a prototype
- Conduct rapid usability testing on that prototype
From what I can tell there's nothing here that's out of the ordinary except that they are condensing quite a bit of work into 5 intense days. They are still basically going through the industry standard user centered design process - researching the problem, developing with users in mind, and evaluating via usability tests.