The Lightning Decision Jam

Lightning Decision Jam For Fast Decision-Making

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

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. 

Key takeaways

  • 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

Satisficing

satisficing
Simon’s satisficing strategy is a decision-making technique where the individual considers various solutions until they find an acceptable option. Satisficing is a portmanteau combining sufficing and satisfying and was created by psychologist Herbert A. Simon. He argued that many individuals make decisions with a satisfactory (and not optimal) solution. Satisfactory decisions are preferred because they achieve an acceptable result and avoid the resource-intensive search for something more optimal.

RAPID Framework

rapid-framework
The RAPID framework is a tool used to help businesses make important decisions. The RAPID framework was developed by global consultancy firm Bain & Company, which noted that “high-quality decision making and strong performance go hand in hand.”

Foursquare Protocol

foursquare-protocol
The Foursquare Protocol is an ethical decision-making model. The Foursquare Protocol helps businesses respond to challenging situations by making decisions according to a code of ethics. It can also be used to help individuals make decisions in the context of their own moral principles. It consists of four steps: gather the facts, understand previous decisions, assess the degree of similarity to past events, and assess yourself.

DACI Decision-Making

daci-decision-making-framework
The DACI Decision-Making Framework was developed by software company Intuit in the 1980s. The DACI Decision-Making Framework assigns and then displays the responsibilities of the individual when making decision. DACI stands for driver, approver, contributor, and informed.

Lightning Decision Jam

The Lightning Decision Jam
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.

Multi-Criteria Analysis

multi-criteria-analysis
The multi-criteria analysis provides a systematic approach for ranking adaptation options against multiple decision criteria. These criteria are weighted to reflect their importance relative to other criteria. A multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is a decision-making framework suited to solving problems with many alternative courses of action.

Cynefin Framework

cynefin-framework
The Cynefin Framework gives context to decision making and problem-solving by providing context and guiding an appropriate response. The five domains of the Cynefin Framework comprise obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic domains and disorder if a domain has not been determined at all.

SWOT Analysis

swot-analysis
A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

Personal SWOT Analysis

personal-swot-analysis
The SWOT analysis is commonly used as a strategic planning tool in business. However, it is also well suited for personal use in addressing a specific goal or problem. A personal SWOT analysis helps individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Pareto Analysis

pareto-principle-pareto-analysis
The Pareto Analysis is a statistical analysis used in business decision making that identifies a certain number of input factors that have the greatest impact on income. It is based on the similarly named Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the effect of something can be attributed to just 20% of the drivers.

Failure Mode And Effects Analysis

failure-mode-and-effects-analysis
A failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a structured approach to identifying design failures in a product or process. Developed in the 1950s, the failure mode and effects analysis is one the earliest methodologies of its kind. It enables organizations to anticipate a range of potential failures during the design stage.

Blindspot Analysis

blindspot-analysis
A Blindspot Analysis is a means of unearthing incorrect or outdated assumptions that can harm decision making in an organization. The term “blindspot analysis” was first coined by American economist Michael Porter. Porter argued that in business, outdated ideas or strategies had the potential to stifle modern ideas and prevent them from succeeding. Furthermore, decisions a business thought were made with care caused projects to fail because major factors had not been duly considered.

Comparable Company Analysis

comparable-company-analysis
A comparable company analysis is a process that enables the identification of similar organizations to be used as a comparison to understand the business and financial performance of the target company. To find comparables you can look at two key profiles: the business and financial profile. From the comparable company analysis it is possible to understand the competitive landscape of the target organization.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

cost-benefit-analysis
A cost-benefit analysis is a process a business can use to analyze decisions according to the costs associated with making that decision. For a cost analysis to be effective it’s important to articulate the project in the simplest terms possible, identify the costs, determine the benefits of project implementation, assess the alternatives.

Agile Business Analysis

agile-business-analysis
Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

SOAR Analysis

soar-analysis
A SOAR analysis is a technique that helps businesses at a strategic planning level to: Focus on what they are doing right. Determine which skills could be enhanced. Understand the desires and motivations of their stakeholders.

STEEPLE Analysis

steeple-analysis
The STEEPLE analysis is a variation of the STEEP analysis. Where the step analysis comprises socio-cultural, technological, economic, environmental/ecological, and political factors as the base of the analysis. The STEEPLE analysis adds other two factors such as Legal and Ethical.

Pestel Analysis

pestel-analysis
The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

DESTEP Analysis

destep-analysis
A DESTEP analysis is a framework used by businesses to understand their external environment and the issues which may impact them. The DESTEP analysis is an extension of the popular PEST analysis created by Harvard Business School professor Francis J. Aguilar. The DESTEP analysis groups external factors into six categories: demographic, economic, socio-cultural, technological, ecological, and political.

Paired Comparison Analysis

paired-comparison-analysis
A paired comparison analysis is used to rate or rank options where evaluation criteria are subjective by nature. The analysis is particularly useful when there is a lack of clear priorities or objective data to base decisions on. A paired comparison analysis evaluates a range of options by comparing them against each other.

Hickam’s Dictum

hickams-dictum
Hickam’s dictum is the counterargument to Occam’s razor. Whereas Occam’s razor is a heuristic that tends to narrow down decision-making to the simplest variables, Hickam’s dictum believes a situation must be tackled by looking at multiple variables.

Occam’s Razor

occams-razor
Occam’s Razor states that one should not increase (beyond reason) the number of entities required to explain anything. All things being equal, the simplest solution is often the best one. The principle is attributed to 14th-century English theologian William of Ockham.

Occam’s Broom

occams-broom
Occam’s broom was first proposed by South African microbiologist Sidney Brenner who proposed that inconvenient facts that do not fit into someone’s hypothesis or serve their agenda are swept aside or hidden. Occam’s broom is a principle stating that inconvenient facts are hidden or obscured to draw important conclusions or argue points.

Outcome Bias

outcome-bias
Outcome bias describes a tendency to evaluate a decision based on its outcome and not on the process by which the decision was reached. In other words, the quality of a decision is only determined once the outcome is known. Outcome bias occurs when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events without regard for how those events developed.

Principle-Agent Problem

principle-agent-problem
The theory behind the principle-agent problem was developed by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Jensen and economist and management professor William H. Meckling. The principle-agent problem describes a conflict in priorities between a person or group and the representative authorized to make decisions on their behalf.

TDODAR Decision Model

tdodar-decision-model
The TDODAR decision model helps an individual make good decisions in emergencies or any scenario with a high degree of uncertainty. TDODAR is an acronym of the six sequential steps that every practitioner must follow, comprising: time, diagnosis, options, decide, act/assign, review.

Mendelow Stakeholder Matrix

mendelow-stakeholder-matrix
The Mendelow stakeholder matrix is a framework used to analyze stakeholder attitudes and expectations and their potential impact on business decisions.

Foursquare Protocol

foursquare-protocol
The Foursquare Protocol is an ethical decision-making model. The Foursquare Protocol helps businesses respond to challenging situations by making decisions according to a code of ethics. It can also be used to help individuals make decisions in the context of their own moral principles. It consists of four steps: gather the facts, understand previous decisions, assess the degree of similarity to past events, and assess yourself.

Go/No-Go Decision Making

go-no-go-decision-making
In general, terms, go/no-go decision making is a process of passing or failing a proposition. Each proposition is assessed according to criteria that determine whether a project advances to the next stage. The outcome of the go/no-go decision making is to assess whether to go or not to go with a project, or perhaps proceed with caveats.

OODA Loop

ooda-loop
The OODA loop was popularized by U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Colonel John Boyd to describe maneuver warfare during the Korean War. The OODA loop is a four-step approach to decision making where strategies must be adjusted quickly. Those four steps comprise observe, orient, decide, and act.

Read Next: Mental ModelsBiasesBounded RationalityMandela EffectDunning-Kruger EffectLindy EffectCrowding Out EffectBandwagon Effect, Decision-Making Matrix.

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