Zalando SE is a European e-commerce company based in Berlin, Germany. The company follows a platform approach, offering Fashion and Lifestyle products to customers in 17 European markets.



Duration: 5-Days Design Sprint / 3-Days iteration Sprint.

Industry: Fashion / E-commerce

Team: Idea Owner, Learning Manager, Software Developer (2), Designer, Product Manager.
1 Facilitator

Design Sprint - Mentor.jpg

“Creating empathy in just a couple of days is something that I’ve only experience in a Design Sprint. Thanks so much for this experience!”.

“Building an internal product is one of the best experiences so far. Building a product for our people so they can rise, that’s amazing!”

“It’s great the work we are putting forward for Diversity at Zalando”

How I met my Mentor team


The Challenge

Mentorship and sponsorship programs for budding female leaders are proven measures to increase the share of female leaders. Harvard Business Review quoted a study that found that mentoring programs within organisations boosted minority and female representation in management on average by 9 to 24%.

During the course of the project, we identified further benefits and application areas for a mentorship program at Zalando, such as improving the quality of our leadership, reducing talent attrition and facilitating non-linear career journeys.

In the brief before the Design Sprint we developed the following challenge:

“How might we find the right match between mentors and mentees to enable trustful and confidential mentorship relationships”

“How might we support minorities to get to Leadership positions”?

We want to create a mentorship program concept for Zalando by building a LoFi and clickable prototype to test with 5 employees so we can generate user research insights and learnings for prototype iteration. In an iteration Sprint, we want to build a HiFi and clickable prototype that illustrates product vision and build an MVP to match Mentors and Mentees based on a pre-defined use case and test a matching logic with invited users.

By the end of the Sprint we will have defined future plans for the program: business unit sponsoring a “home”, launch, roll-out, communication and resources required

Solution Sketch - Mentor.jpg

The Design Sprint represented the best way to empathize with employees and generate the first employee-centric ideas for an internal mentoring programm.

“Mentoring someone helped me reflect on my leadership style and become a better leader”

The team was also able to take a step back and reflect on how programs from other companies have become successful and what could be the secret formula to offer a trustful experience and a driver of company culture.

“If it becomes a tool for us, this is good.If we embed this in our culture, then this would be perfect!”

Design Sprint - Decision.jpg


During the 2nd. sprint, the team iterated and refined the LoFi prototype and turned it into a HiFi prototype projecting a compelling product vision for the management team to invest further.

The project was made part of the company-wide OKRs and a new team was assembled to build the product.

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