What are the GVDS Spotlight Awards?

The Global Virtual Design Sprint (GVDS) Spotlight Awards are a peer-based recognition process where virtual design sprint practitioners can nominate each other for their contributions to the team and the Sprint.

Nominations are taken for the following categories:

  • Most Valuable Practitioner (MVP)
  • Best of the Best
  • Top Ten Practitioner

These awards are meant to acknowledge those who receive the highest amount of accolades from their peers.


Mehmet Karakus
Dusseldorf, Germany

"With diligent facilitation, Mehmet prepared the team for the upcoming journey... bringing the team in five days to a tested prototype. He was always working behind the scenes to enable each team member to deliver success."

"Mehmet was a mentor for the group.  He could help us where we were struggling to understand what to do or how to do.  He could create these last steps that could make us feel like we accomplished what we wanted or were expecting to do."

"Mehmet was able to organize all the sprint activities to make them run smoothly. He also stood out by his ability to keep the team on track during facilitation, allowing everyone to have a voice.  He kept a good energy with the team, and made sure that everyone had a chance to participate and be heard throughout the whole sprint."

"I would like to recognize Mehmet for his passion and his participation in the GVDS 4.0.  Mehmet was part of many teams as both an active team member, observer and all around contributor.  He clearly has an amazing passion for Design Sprints and the GVDS and his contributions to so many teams has been immeasurable."

"Mehmet has helped me go through the sprint as an experienced facilitator when I was struggling as a novice. Mehmet was always prepared, patient and hands-off when appropriate.  He drove the team when it mattered."

Previous MVP Winners:

Jeroen Frumau
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Sandy Lam
Leipzig, Germany


Laura Barrabia Gil
Zürich, Switzerland

"Laura Gil is a force of nature!  Super dynamic, lots of initiative and a hands-on approach to move ideas to a pretotyping level.  She's a great player who does well in a collaborative setting."

"Laura was the most active person on our pretotyping team, assisting in the development of all versions with the best she could deliver. I just love to collaborate with her. I think everybody on the pretotyping team learned something with her presence and that must be recognized."

"Laura took initiative, conducted interviews at a highly professional level without any preparation, insightful and lead by example."

"Her dedication to the challenge made her 100% present in all the sessions from problem framing until user testing.  Always ready to act, even when in doubt of next steps."

"Laura (who's driven by passion and professional values) demonstrated high energy, team empathy and provided rationalized proposals."

Ken Soto
La Mesa, California

"Ken is someone who designs based on the human experience.  I truly enjoyed co-creating with Ken."

"Our Lead Designer had to leave our Sprint mid-meeting just before prototyping was about to start. Ken stepped up and filled the role and made the prototype for the team.  He stayed committed and made really came through for everyone."

Ken can have a meaningful discussion about the purpose of what we are doing while not just focusing on the Design Sprint process.  It was great to discuss with Ken how to structure and guide sprint activities to get the best out of the team."

"I would like to recognize Ken Soto for his brilliant effort in translating our solution storyboard into visuals that clearly articulated our concept and positioned our research team to use for testing. "

"Ken did a great job at looking at the color palettes, voice/tone and overall objectives and synthesized them into visuals that were compelling and emotive."

"Ken also did a fantastic job as co-facilitator, leading the team through Day 1 activities.  Ken has a very collaborative spirit and always seems to drive the team toward action and alignment.  Well done Ken!"

"Ken jumped out of his Designer role and took on some Facilitation tasks, which he made look easy.  Thumbs up to him for stepping up and learning."

Iva Sladic Keco
Hong Kong

"Even though it was her first GVDS, Iva showed:
- Calmness in the face of chaos & uncertainty
- Keeping the team interests first
- Open to the opinions from the team
- Expressing genuine feeling of our status without any sugar coating"

"Iva displayed exemplary leadership skills. We had a sensitive and tough challenge and struggled to narrow the broad scope of it.  With Iva's leadership, she pulled the team together, narrowed the problem and produced what I believe is a prototype that certainly can be refined into a solution that can improve an important social issue."

"Iva taught me a lot around how to facilitate a sprint.  I'm really looking forward to collaborating with her in the future."

"Iva joined our team during the Iteration Sprint and brought massive value to our virtual table as a highly skilled and empathetic UX Designer."

"Not only did Iva participate and over deliver in all our sessions... she created a delicate mood board which inspired the team to go in a new direction, new branding and a new prototype.  We literally modified the teams' design approach for our service overnight!"

"Iva has been one of our secret design weapons and a highly appreciated asset to our team.""Iva facilitated our team in a way that everyone felt comfortable.She was very inclusive and listened in a very kind way.  We could learn a lot with Iva."

Previous "Best of the Best" Winners:

Ian Thorne
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Ahmed Yahya
Sleman, Indonesia
Rakesh Kasturi
Berlin, Germany
Friso Jankosky
Vienna, Austria
Andy Davis
Fort Worth, Texas
Jason Ruud
South Elgin, Illinois
Gina Couper
Auckland, New Zealand
Daniel Herrera
Mexico City, Mexico


Ian Thorne
Eindhoven, Netherlands

"Ian was such an amazing partner during the sprint, helping everyone understand the activities and making us feel safe.  Whenever our facilitators struggled, he was there to help out."

Rajesh Raghavan
Bengaluru, India

"Raj is a dedicated team player and a design superstar.  He goes above and beyond in the way he ideates with empathy and visually solving problems. He provided extremely thoughtful solutions for the team."

Sarita Damania
Dallas, Texas

"Sarita was very mindful of methodology, which was useful since our team pivoted halfway through the sprint. She knew where to jump in to help things go smoother."

Maike Strudhoff
Paris, France

"Maike was really passionate to solve problems as a "Decider" for the challenge she brought to the table.Her energy resonated to all of our team members."

Lisa Weinsberger
Vienna, Austria

"Lisa is outstanding in leading the group, finding the right balance between discussion and deciding, always has an idea for the right next step and exercise.  She showed outstanding facilitation and guidance."

Gunjan Singh
Utrecht, Netherlands

"Gunjan had such amazing energy and collaboration skills.  She made our team fell connected, with some great activities that really brought our team together.  Her explanations really helped a newbie like me."

Finn Kollerup
Ballerup, Denmark

"Finn is that guy who is seriously listening and contributing to the team during the ideation process. He provided the team with some of the best journey mapping solutions I've ever seen."

David Witt
Costa Mesa, California

"I was amazed at how David continued to connect with our challenge.  He demonstrated true design leadership when asked about his career journey during the Talent Sprint."

Benjamin Dehant
Tokyo, Japan

"Benjamin turn around ideas quickly and with great quality.  He was pivotal in our success as a team."

Alexander Sprogis
Hamburg, Germany

"Alexander developed and designed a great prototype!  It was one of the many highlights of my time in the GVDS."

Previous "Top Ten" Winners:

Ola Hafez Ali
Cairo, Egypt
Lisa Lambert
Vancouver, Canada
Mridu Nath
Bengaluru, India
Lee Duncan
Raleigh, North Carolina
Kristin Kazamaki
Sacramento, California
Kexin Cha
New York, NY
Catherine Lecloux
Quesnoy-sur-Deûle, France
Ian Thorne
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Andy Davis
Fort Worth, Texas
Mehmet Karakus
Dusseldorf, Germany