Consulting, Workshop Facilitation + Training for Busy Business & Product Teams

Better Meetings. Stronger Teams. Faster Products.

Improve team collaboration

Solve the right problems

Make better decisions

Find innovation opportunities

De-risk new ideas

Develop better products, faster

Transform unproductive meetings by up to 72% with proven, no-nonsense innovation and team collaboration workshops that deliver tangible results, saving time, energy, and money.

Leading teams opt for Sprint Workshops over traditional meetings
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Solving the Right Problem? Feeling Pressure to Collaborate & Innovate?

Many teams encounter similar challenges that are often rooted in underlying issues.


Meeting chaos

Meetings that are poorly run, lacking in structure, focus, and clear direction, often fail to achieve their desired outcomes.


Poor problem-solving

Poor problem-solving can lead to resource wastage, missed opportunities, and lower customer satisfaction and profitability.


Lack of agility

Businesses that can’t keep up with changes miss opportunities, lose revenue due to slow response times, and lack innovation.


Indecisive stakeholders

Leaders who lack confidence can slow down productivity by causing circular discussions where only the loudest voices are heard.


Poor team alignment

Team misalignment can significantly hinder a team’s ability to function effectively and achieve its goals.


No repeatable process

Innovation without a clear process leads to a “Wild West” mentality, characterized by inefficiencies, confusion, and a lack of progress.

Stand out and outperform your competitors:
Turn your meetings from mundane to meaningful, fostering collaboration, innovation, and tangible results.

15 minutes. 100% obligation-free.


You are not alone. The default method of collaboration is fundamentally flawed!

Meetings are the primary barrier to productivity, team efficiency, and product improvement.

$100 Million

is the annual cost to large companies for employees attending unnecessary meetings.

Source: Useless Meetings Waste Time and $100 Million a Year for Big Companies, Bloomberg 2022


of the time that teams spend in meetings is ineffective, as it does not result in productive outcomes.

Source: Meetings Are the No. 1 Barrier to Productivity, Atlassian Survey 2024


of decision-makers state that they need to enhance collaboration within their departments.

Source: Unlocking the Value of Open Collaboration to Drive Enterprise Agility, Forrester Research 2021


of senior managers said that meetings prevent them from completing their own work.

Source: Stop the Meeting Madness, Harvard Business Review 2017
Stop pointless meetings and start ones that are important, fostering collaboration, and driving real results.


15+ Years Guiding Teams and Developing Digital Solutions

I’m excited to help businesses innovate better and faster together. I approach tasks with a confident mindset and no-nonsense workshop toolkits to make meetings productive, creativity tangible, innovation easy and the process fun! Ready?

DSS Founder Martin Backes
Martin Backes – Innovation Consultant, Workshop Facilitator, Product Strategist, Design Expert, Trainer and Lecturer.

🥷 15+ experience as a designer & consultant in collaboration, innovation, product strategy, UX, usability, prototyping, and workshop design

🎤 14+ years of experience as a university lecturer

👨‍🏫 12+ years of experience as a corporate trainer and mentor

🪪 1 000+ people trained and certified in workshops and seminars

🥇 Certified Workshopper Master

⏱️ Certified Design Sprint facilitator and trainer

🤖 Certified AI Design Sprint facilitator and trainer

💡 Certified customer-centric and JTBD specialist

📱 Official UX Design & Usability certifier

🥇 Winner German Design Award 2021

🎨 Works are exhibited in museums globally

I am your personal agency that cuts through nonsense, drives change quickly, and helps you get ahead.

My mantra: Don’t have a meeting, throw a workshop!
German Design Award Winner 2021 Badge - Martin Backes
AI Design Sprint Facilitator & Trainer Badge
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Design Sprint 2.0 Trainer & Facilitator Badge
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You After Working With Us: Better. Faster. Innovative.


Better team collaboration

Leads to more efficient processes, increased success, improved communication, and greater innovation.


De-risked projects

Our methods will reduce the risk to the barest minimum for your product development.


Better problem-solving

Effectively solve the right problems and make critical decisions with confidence.


More agility

Adapt and survive in an ever-changing business world by improving processes.


Strong team alignment

Team members understand project goals and roles, promoting efficiency and collaboration.


Repeatable innovation

Use our repeatable methods for turning new ideas into profitable businesses.


Design Sprint Approach: Our 5-Step Secret Recipe for Effortless Collaboration & Innovation

Innovation Toolkit Session 1

1-Project Launch: Succeeding Together

Business Needs Analysis

We will analyze your business needs and pain points, define measurable criteria for success, and establish the appropriate framework.

Innovation Toolkit Session 2

2-From Planning to Success

Your Individual Plan and Workshop

We will create a plan to improve your innovation and problem-solving processes with our award-winning frameworks to help you achieve your business goals and define important milestones.

Innovation Toolkit Session 4

3-Doing the Right Things (Right)

Workshop, Consulting, Training

Whether it's project initiation, innovation discovery, problem-solving, strategy refinement, product enhancement, or technology streamlining, we work with your team to find the best solution and define clear action steps within days or weeks, not months.

Day 2 of a Design Sprint

4-Actionable Results & Recommendations

Executive Summary and Next Steps

Whether you work with us for training, consulting, or workshop facilitation, we will provide your project team with a summary and recommendations so that everyone will have a clear and concise understanding of next steps.

Step 5 - Our Secret 5-Step Workshop Recipe

5-Streamline Design & Business Procedures

Scaling & Optimization

We will be your go-to consultants for any questions you have about completed workshops or training. Additionally, we offer consulting services to assist you in creating an MVP or implementing a new workflow.

Don’t miss this opportunity to elevate your
business to the next level. Start now!


For All Businesses Seeking to STOP

losing profit

Frustrated by missed revenue opportunities due to poor team collaboration and innovation?

risking customer dissatisfaction

Do you fear losing customers due to poor-quality products and lack of a clear strategy?

falling behind

Do you want to survive strong competition and stay ahead of technological progress?

We’re here to support you every step of the way in achieving your goals.

To remain competitive, it is essential to be efficient and innovative.


Don’t Just Take Our Word for It: Hear What Our Customers Say

🏆 Our project was honored with the German Design Award

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»Working with Martin Backes and his studio was great. We hired him to direct and consult us in our vision of becoming a worldwide-leading audio product.« Niklas Jansen, CEO and co-Founder blinkist

Challenge: As a SaaS product that started out almost entirely visually, one of Blinkist’s main challenges was the lack of a streamlined process to create an audio-first business strategy.

Solution: Customized consulting solutions and workshops based on the Design Sprint method helped overcome the challenges of becoming an audio-first company.

Result: Blinkist has confidently transformed into a premium audio-first product, leading to a significant increase in customer engagement and revenue. In 2021, our project was honored with the German Design Award. Two years later, in 2023, Blinkist was acquired by Go1 (valued at over $2 billion).

🎯 A repeatable process for reducing risk in strategic innovation projects

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»We highly recommend their service for anyone seeking innovative ways to foster team collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making, and to de-risk strategic projects.« Anna Schieber, CEO UVR Berlin

Challenge: As a fashion brand with both physical shops and an e-commerce store, one of UVR’s primary challenges was to innovate without any established processes beyond their day-to-day operations.

Solution: Our consulting services and customized workshops, based on the proven Design Sprint methodology, help overcome challenges in fostering innovation and exploring new business opportunities beyond day-to-day operations.

Result: UVR Berlin successfully transformed their approach to team collaboration by implementing innovative problem-solving and decision-making methods, reducing risk in strategic innovation projects, opening two new shops, and transitioning to a more sustainable brand while maintaining core values.

More Client Testimonials


Do You Already Know What You Are Looking For?

Solution: Workshops & Consulting

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Organize a workshop to encourage collaborative work or get consulting on your next product, strategy, or launch.

Solution: Corporate Training

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Empower your team with practical training to conduct more effective meetings and drive innovation-led growth.


Elevate Your Collaboration, Innovation, and Product Development Now

1. Scheduling

Click the button below to reserve one of the available, free 15-minute time slots in the next 14 days.

2. Situation Analysis

We will evaluate your current situation, identify your main challenge, and explore potential strategies to address it.

3. Action Plan

We will demonstrate a possible implementation and provide you with ideas for your own approach based on our conversation.

Our first meeting is 100% free of charge and without obligation.

Your data will be treated confidentially
and will only be used for preparation purposes.


You Have 2 Options Now

Do nothing and deal with…

70% busy work in teams

Endless meetings

Products lacking innovation

High labor and time costs


Frustration and stress

Work with us and get…

Fast results

Focus and clear direction

Innovative products

Cost and time savings

Great customer feedback

Happiness and productivity

In a fast-changing business world, companies must innovate to stay ahead. However, every moment of poor team collaboration, inaction, or misdirection is a missed opportunity to make an impact.

Think big, start small.


Questions We Get Frequently

If you never heard of collaboration workshops, design sprints or innovation methods in general, this page provides help with the most common questions. If you don’t see what’s on your mind, reach out to us anytime by phone, chat, or email. You can also check our complete FAQs.

What services do you offer?

We offer top-notch services for product strategy, design, innovation, workshop design and facilitation, as well as practical innovation training for businesses. We can help you build products or services based on real customer needs, enabling innovation-led growth. Our aim is to enable teams to achieve their best work without relying on luck or genius. We also offer consulting services to assist you in creating an MVP or implementing a new agile workflow. Furthermore, we will be your go-to consultant for any questions you have about completed workshops or training.

How does the process work from beginning to end?

After our analysis conversation, we will create a detailed project plan that includes all the necessary steps. You will receive regular updates, and we will continuously coordinate to ensure that the result meets your expectations.

What are the costs?

The cost of our services depends on the type and scope of the project. To provide you with a fair and transparent offer, we first discuss your individual requirements and preferences. After our analysis conversation, we create a customized offer that takes into account all costs and is tailored to your specific project.

How is communication managed during the project?

Open and transparent communication is essential to us. We use email, phone, Slack, Notion, and possibly video conferencing tools to regularly exchange information and keep you informed about the project’s progress.

What changes are possible during the process?

We can make adjustments at any time, as long as they are within the scope of the original project. However, the extent to which we can make changes depends on the project. For significant modifications, we will discuss the impact on the schedule and costs.

How is support managed after a project is finished?

Once the project is complete, we are available to answer any questions and provide support. Depending on the agreement, we may also offer creative direction, process support, workshop facilitation, or optimization services.

What happens if I am not satisfied with the end product?

Our top priority is your satisfaction. If you are not happy with the results, we will work together to find a solution that best implements your ideas. However, we have never had an unsatisfied customer before.

Why us?

Design Sprints and other Design Thinking related workshops are a wonderful, structured, human-centered approach used for practical and creative problem-solving. They can, however, go completely wrong if you don’t have the right experts around, who can guide you through challenging decisions and bring in their perspective. In order to assist you, we draw on decades of real-world experience in the fields of design, entrepreneurship, and strategy in both startups and large corporations. Because we’ve been there too, we can identify with your situation. We know and understand what you’re up against, and we’ll do everything we can to help you succeed, guaranteeing you real added value and the highest quality in every aspect.

What is a Design Sprint?

The sprint is a process for answering critical business questions by creating a realistic prototype of an idea, and testing it on real users – in under a week! Developed at Google Ventures, it encompasses business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more.

Who is a Design Sprint for?

The Sprint process came out in 2016, and today, thousands of teams around the world have run sprints in startups (like Slack and Airbnb), big companies (like LEGO and Google), agencies (like IDEO and McKinsey), schools (like Stanford and Columbia), governments (like the UK and the UN), and even museums (like the British Museum and the Smithsonian).

Design Sprint vs. Design Thinking: What's the difference?

Yes, there is a difference. Design Thinking is a toolkit, mindset, and philosophy, while a Design Sprint is a specific recipe, with exercises and a step-by-step guide for executing Design Thinking principles.


If you want to learn more about Design Thinking, Design Sprints, and Agile Sprints, check out our dedicated article where we break down the similarities and differences between each framework and when to use each one.

Why run a Sprint Workshop?

Unorganized brainstorms tend to favor extroverts over introverts and to place importance on quantity over quality. In summary, they are an unsuitable choice for coming up with necessary solutions.


Below are the main reasons you should opt for a Sprint Workshop approach instead:


✅ In sprints, group and individual tasks can coexist peacefully and effectively. Structured, timed exercises promote a variety of perspectives and developed ideas (with distractions reduced to the barest minimum).


✅ You get a tangible and reproducible problem-solving process that you can use whenever you want to advance your business ideas.


✅ Obtaining authentic feedback from your target users allows you to advocate design based on data and not bias or intuition.


✅ Before investing a lot of time and money, you can secure buy-in from stakeholders right from the start.


✅ As a result, you will get a solution that has been prototyped and tested.

Can we use Design Sprints for other business areas as well?

Can we, for example, use Sprints for challenges like organizing promotional campaigns, defining marketing strategy, or crafting strong content ideas? Yes, we can! In fact, Jake Knapp himself (the inventor of one of the most effective workshops – the Design Sprint!) uses Sprints for marketing campaigns whenever possible…


“I like to use workshops for marketing campaigns whenever possible, even when the main question is about the product. Getting the marketing right is crucial to getting the product right. In fact, you should figure out the marketing first before you figure out the product.” Jake Knapp


The basis of the Marketing Strategy Campaign Workshop uses the exercises from the trusted Design Sprint method, while matching it to the specifics of working on a marketing challenge. It merges numerous profound exercises and techniques, making it an all-encompassing tool for marketers which is effective in tackling challenges such as defining marketing strategy, organizing promotional campaigns, or crafting strong content ideas.


Here are just a few examples of what we can use a Marketing Strategy Campaign Workshop for:


✅ Defining the overall marketing strategy for a product

✅ Crafting high-converting landing pages

✅ Devising efficient advertising campaigns

✅ Planning out full-circle marketing plans for a product launch

✅ Giving your brand a re-fresher


…and so much more!


Using our method, you have planned out a complete marketing strategy campaign in just a few hours, including its timeline, all the deliverables required (as well as those responsible for them), and a concept for your most valuable asset. What would usually have required long hours of open-ended discussions, countless painfully unproductive meetings, and never-ending back and forth was completed with ease and momentum. Pretty good, if you ask us.

Do you offer other types of Sprints or workshops?

The core of all our workshops uses exercises from tried and tested Design Sprint method while adapting it to the specifics of each challenge. Besides the Design Sprint, we also do offer workshops for brainstorming, ideation, and problem-solving or even for marketing challenges. We recommend using our workshop methods anytime your team needs to make decisions, solve problems or discuss challenges fast + find quick direction. It will prevent your team from losing focus and replace your open, unstructured discussion with a simple process.


Here are some examples of workshops we frequently conduct for companies of all sizes.


🧩 For 1-3 day workshop formats, we offer:


Scoping Workshop: A workshop to scope business challenges, define strategies for desired results, and align with stakeholders.


Innovation Sprint: It quickly identifies the problem space, helping focus on the main challenge for your next innovation project.


Growth Hacking Workshop: This workshop will guide your team in creating actionable growth hacking experiments in a structured manner.


Marketing Campaign Sprint: For tasks such as crafting marketing strategies, promotional campaigns, and content ideas.


OKR Sprint: This simple and effective OKR workshop will help your team gain clarity on which goals to focus on and how they will be measured.


Challenge 360 Sprint: This helps a team align on exactly what to work on or solve, and what to ignore for now.


Strategy Signal Sprint: This helps a team define an end goal and a straightforward strategy for solving a selected challenge.


Plan-O-Rama: This helps a team execute their strategy.


Decision Sprint: This is a general-purpose problem-solving and decision-making workshop that provides tangible, actionable results.


Leadership & Executive Team Retreat: Enhance strategies, teamwork, and leadership skills in a focused workshop retreat that condenses planning into a few action-oriented days.


🧩 For 3-5 day workshop formats, we offer:


Strategy Sprint: For leadership teams to design a successful strategy that positions their company advantageously.


Product Strategy Sprint: Develop a coherent approach to product development, articulated in a Product Strategy with actionable steps.


AI Design Sprint – Process Automation: Quickly identify easy-to-automate processes with AI and develop valuable team solutions.


AI Design Sprint – Products & Services: Confidently infuse AI technology into business products or services for innovative and valuable solutions.


Design Sprint: Before investing time and money, validate ideas and solve complex business issues as a team through prototyping and user testing.


and more.

Do you offer customized workshops or training?

Yes! Many top designers and consultancies around the world have adapted the time-boxed sprint model to special cases. Every situation that demands change can benefit from a tailor-made approach. All organizations, as well as us, have to deal with different situations. There are many different target groups, change requirements, possibilities, and so on. That is why we offer tailor-made workshops to respond to such individual situations and, of course, to keep our clients happy. So if you have a specific issue, we can tailor a workshop or training for your specific needs.

What are the core principles of our Workshops?

1. Working Together Alone (removing personal biases and levelling the playing field)

➡️ The group works in the same room, while each person has time and space to form their own individual ideas and thoughts.


☝️ Why? To equalize different personalities and levels of hierarchy.


2. Tangible (ideas) over Discussion

➡️ Instead of discussing and trying to convince others of our point of view, we let the ideas speak for themselves by writing, sketching or showing examples.


☝️ Why? To avoid different interpretations & misunderstandings.


3. Getting Started over Being Right

➡️ Rather than waiting until we all agree that everything is “perfect”, we make decisions, move forward, and test our hunches quickly.


☝️ Why? To break the cycle of decision paralysis & make some progress!


4. Don’t rely on creativity

➡️ Instead of expecting each person to “feel” creative at the right moment, we use the process to inspire, inform and prepare for idea generation.


☝️ Why? Because creativity is unpredictable.

Is Design Sprints or Design Thinking only for designers or tech companies?

You may have heard a thousand times that designers started Design Sprints. While that may be true, anyone in any industry can use this method. Anybody who is hoping to advance their business can run Design Sprints.


Read on to find out more about the biggest misconception about Design Sprints.

Why using an external facilitator or consultant?

Every company faces complicated times, big problems, or risky situations. Teams need to take important decisions and make alignment fast. As facilitation specialists, we are here to support you in an unbiased and structured manner. Using an external facilitator or consultant allows you to avoid potentially explosive situations and smoothly manage difficult personalities and emotions within a group. Please read our comprehensive article on why an external facilitator should run your next Design Sprint to learn more.

What about running a fully remote Workshop or Design Sprint?

Yes, we can. Three years ago, it would have been impossible to offer such a service, but the tools are here. We are using simple tools, so for sure, the virtual Design Sprint team doesn’t need to have specific skills or experience regarding remote work. Participants will be guided through the process and introduced to each exercise and every tool we are using for our remote Design Sprints.

Any advantages of Remote Design Sprints vs. In-person Design Sprints?

Dispersed teams can collaborate to solve problems fast, using a proven process that delivers precise results without using an extra budget for accommodation & traveling, renting a venue, food, etc.


There are even more benefits of running a Remote Design Sprint:


1. Take action now instead of waiting for the perfect time “when the stars align”


2. Easier to organize, even with distributed teams


3. Same quality as in an in-person sprint… if not better!


4. Easier to get busy people in who might otherwise not be able to join


5. Fully digitized – benefits of not having to type everything up


6. No need to organize a workshop room – or having to deal with subpar rooms


7. No need to buy materials – and you never run out


8. Yes, we can work on different time zones without messing your day up


9. Lower stress with fewer variables


10. We can sprint worldwide! No travel costs, no jetlag, no environmental impact


11. Show your team how to collaborate remotely, and that it’s even easier than on location


12. Build a remote collaboration culture


Conclusion: As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to running a Sprint remotely!

If you have any more questions about Sprints or any other workshop method, just send us a message or book a free call. We’d love to learn more about you.

Don’t miss this opportunity to elevate your
business to the next level. Start now!


Get Your Free Consultation Call

We only work with a maximum of 2 new clients per month to make sure that each project gets our full attention.

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