The Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ) is a means of making fast decisions that provide quick direction. The Lightning Decision Jam was developed by design agency AJ&Smart in response to the inefficiency of business meetings. Borrowing ideas from the core principles of design sprints, AJ&Smart created the Lightning Decision Jam.
|Methodology Overview||Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ) is a collaborative decision-making technique and workshop format introduced by AJ&Smart, a design and innovation consultancy. LDJ is designed to streamline and accelerate the decision-making process within cross-functional teams. It is particularly effective for making quick, informed decisions, prioritizing ideas, and solving complex problems in a time-efficient manner. LDJ draws inspiration from Design Sprints and Agile methodologies to facilitate focused, outcome-driven sessions.|
|Key Principles||LDJ is guided by several key principles: |
1. Time-Boxed: LDJ sessions are short and time-bound, often lasting no longer than 4 hours, which keeps participants focused and prevents overthinking.
2. Cross-Functional Teams: It involves a diverse group of stakeholders with different perspectives to ensure comprehensive decision-making.
3. Structured Activities: LDJ employs a series of structured exercises and techniques to guide participants through the decision-making process.
4. Visual Collaboration: Visual tools, such as whiteboards and sticky notes, are used to facilitate communication and documentation.
5. Iterative Approach: LDJ encourages iterative thinking and prototyping to refine decisions.
|Process||LDJ typically follows a structured process:|
1. Problem Framing: Define the problem or decision that needs to be addressed during the LDJ session.
2. Idea Generation: Participants generate a variety of ideas, solutions, or options related to the problem.
3. Silent Voting: Participants silently vote on the ideas they find most promising using stickers or dots.
4. Discussion and Ranking: Ideas with the most votes are discussed, and participants collectively rank them in order of priority.
5. Decision: The highest-ranked idea or solution is chosen as the decision.
6. Action Planning: Determine next steps and actions required to implement the decision.
|Applications||LDJ is versatile and can be applied to various scenarios, including product feature prioritization, problem-solving, project planning, and strategy development. It is especially valuable when teams need to make decisions quickly or align on complex issues.|
|Benefits||LDJ offers several benefits: |
1. Speed: LDJ accelerates decision-making and reduces the time spent in lengthy meetings or discussions.
2. Inclusivity: Involving cross-functional teams ensures diverse perspectives and buy-in.
3. Visual Clarity: The use of visual tools aids in clarifying ideas and facilitating understanding.
4. Actionable Outcomes: LDJ results in clear, actionable decisions and next steps.
5. Reduced Overthinking: Timeboxing prevents excessive analysis and encourages action.
|Challenges||LDJ may face challenges related to time constraints, ensuring active participation, and adapting the methodology to suit the specific context or organization. Effective facilitation is crucial to overcoming these challenges.|
Understanding the Lightning Decision Jam
Indeed, many meetings consist of unstructured conversation that does not further company goals. Many other meetings are probably better discussed in a group chat or through a series of emails. In either case, attendees are often left feeling confused and generally unmotivated.
Borrowing ideas from the core principles of design sprints, AJ&Smart created the Lightning Decision Jam. These principles include:
- Working together, alone.
- Tangible items being better than discussion.
- A belief that being right is not as important as getting started.
- Less reliance on creativity.
Indeed, the LDJ method is suited to any situation where an organization is having difficulty in defining or addressing problems. The method is also versatile. It can be used in large multinational corporations or small start-ups containing just a few people.
How to run a Lightning Decision Jam
Before beginning, an ideal team size of 4-6 people must select a moderator. A good moderator is essential in ensuring that discussions do not become unstructured or run over time.
After personnel has been decided, the LDJ can be performed by following these steps:
Start with the problems (7 minutes)
Each team member should spend 7 minutes detailing the problems or challenges encountered during the week on blue post-it notes. There must be no discussion during this process.
Present problems (4 minutes per person)
One at a time, each person should then stand up and stick the blue post-it notes to a wall or whiteboard while they give a brief description for each. To avoid running over 4 minutes, it is helpful to dedicate no more than 30 seconds to each problem.
Select problems to solve (6 minutes)
Each team member is then assigned two dots which they must then use to vote on the problems they deem the most important to solve. Again, there must be no discussion between the group.
Reframe problems (6 minutes)
Here, the moderator rewriters the top-voted problem in the form of a standardized challenge. The challenge is reframed in the “How Might We” (HMW) format to make it solvable and ensure consistency across all problems.
Consider the example of a post-it note reading “I am having difficulty keeping up with this new marketing campaign”. Rewritten in HMW format, the challenge then reads “Ensure that everyone is supported and well-informed during marketing campaigns”.
Produce solutions (7 minutes)
Without any discussion, each team member has 7 minutes to write potential solutions on green post-it notes. At this point, the focus is on quantity over quality. After the allotted time has elapsed, each member sticks their solutions on the wall.
Vote on solutions (10 minutes)
To cast votes on the most viable solutions, each team member is given six dots.
Prioritize solutions (30 seconds)
Solutions with more than two votes should be prioritized, with post-it notes containing the most dots placed near the top of the wall or whiteboard.
Decide what to execute on (10 minutes)
How much effort is required to enact each solution? A simple effort/impact matrix can be used to determine which solutions have the highest potential to be a quick fix.
To achieve this, the moderator should hold each post-it note over the matrix and ask team members to decide a final position based on its perceived effort and impact.
Turn solutions into actionable tasks (5 minutes)
Problems occupying favorable positions on the matrix are then taken off the wall or whiteboard. Then, the individual who came up with the original problem is tasked with creating an actionable plan that can be completed in 1-2 weeks.
- The Lightning Decision Jam allows businesses to make fast, effective decisions on high-impact problems.
- The Lightning Decision Jam was created in response to traditional business meetings that often result in an unstructured conversation that does not further company goals.
- Running a Lightning Decision Jam means following a structured, time-limited process. With an emphasis on no discussion and group consensus through voting, the LDJ team can create a clear and actionable solution quickly.
- Efficient Decision Making: LDJ is a method developed by AJ&Smart to make quick and effective decisions by addressing problems or challenges in a structured and time-limited manner.
- Origin and Inspiration: LDJ is inspired by the core principles of design sprints and aims to overcome the inefficiencies of traditional business meetings, which often lack direction and yield unproductive conversations.
- Core Principles Borrowed from Design Sprints:
- Working Together, Alone: Team members work individually to generate ideas before coming together.
- Tangible Items Over Discussion: Focus on creating tangible solutions instead of getting stuck in discussions.
- Getting Started Over Being Right: Prioritize taking action and generating solutions over finding the perfect answer.
- Less Reliance on Creativity: Encourages practical problem-solving over seeking highly creative solutions.
- Suitability and Versatility: LDJ can be applied in various organizational contexts, from large corporations to small startups, whenever there’s a need to define and address problems effectively.
- Team Structure and Moderation:
- An ideal team size of 4-6 people is recommended.
- A moderator is crucial to guide the process, prevent unstructured discussions, and keep the session on track.
- Step-by-Step LDJ Process:
- Start with the Problems: Each team member spends 7 minutes detailing problems or challenges on blue post-it notes, without discussion.
- Present Problems: Team members stand up one by one, briefly describing their problems while sticking the post-it notes on a wall or whiteboard (limited to 4 minutes per person).
- Select Problems to Solve: Each member votes on the problems they consider most important to solve, using two dots without any discussion.
- Reframe Problems: Moderator rewrites the top-voted problem as a solvable challenge using the “How Might We” (HMW) format for consistency.
- Produce Solutions: Each team member spends 7 minutes writing potential solutions on green post-it notes, focusing on quantity over quality.
- Vote on Solutions: Team members cast six votes on the most viable solutions.
- Prioritize Solutions: Solutions with more than two votes are prioritized based on the number of dots, placed at the top of the wall.
- Decide What to Execute On: An effort/impact matrix is used to assess the potential of each solution as a quick fix, with team consensus.
- Turn Solutions into Actionable Tasks: Favorable solutions are removed from the wall, and the person who identified the problem creates an actionable plan for execution in 1-2 weeks.
- Key Takeaways:
- LDJ enables businesses to rapidly address high-impact problems with efficient decision-making.
- It was designed in response to traditional unstructured business meetings that often hinder progress.
- The LDJ process emphasizes structured steps, time limits, no discussions during certain stages, and group consensus through voting to achieve clear and actionable solutions quickly.
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