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.
- Understanding the Lightning Decision Jam
- How to run a Lightning Decision Jam
- Start with the problems (7 minutes)
- Present problems (4 minutes per person)
- Select problems to solve (6 minutes)
- Reframe problems (6 minutes)
- Produce solutions (7 minutes)
- Vote on solutions (10 minutes)
- Prioritize solutions (30 seconds)
- Decide what to execute on (10 minutes)
- Turn solutions into actionable tasks (5 minutes)
- Key takeaways
- Connected Decision Making Frameworks
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.
Connected Decision Making Frameworks