Fostering Innovation and Productivity with Lightning Decision Jam
At Invillia, every Wednesday at noon, we stop for an hour to nourish ourselves with the tips, how-tos, good practices and trends selected by our specialists in Product, Agile, Back and Front, Mobile, Quality, Security and Data. A vital exchange of experiences for those who love the new. And essential for innovation to never stop. If technology is in the blood. We make sure to keep it circulating more and more_
IN THE VEIN_ LDJ as the perfect workshop to solve challenges quickly and with high impact_
In today’s article, we share the main lessons learned from the inspiring edition regarding Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ), presented by Diego Ramos, our expert in the Design community.
Understanding about Design and Context
Design has several definitions and is often confused with visual creation. At Invillia, we understand that the purpose of Design is to solve problems, and the format (visual, process, journey) is just the means to make that happen. For example, when we think about UX Design we are addressing the user experience. And how do we get the best possible one? Largely by discussing as a team.
It’s when the critical question arises. More and more, we participate in meetings that are not productive. Too much time talking and hanging out with nothing. Much is said, sometimes in monologue, and little is done. In a survey by Igloo Software, 44% reported that meetings are unproductive. And within that framework, 76% say they are unnecessary, 59% that they defocus the main topic, 58% that people repeat something that has already been said, and 47% that certain people dominate the conversation at the meeting.
We need to rethink and start working smarter to bring more engagement, gain time and actually create solutions that solve problems. And Lightning Decision Jam, built by Jonathan Courtney and Michael Smart, is precisely to help on that journey. Not just regarding Design, but everything that involves solving problems: from product development to recruitment, sales or anything else, even at a personal level.
What is Lightning Decision Jam
Replace endless and confusing discussions with a clear, democratic process that leads to more ideas and tangible results. That’s the motto of Lightning Decision Jam. A simple, short group exercise, face-to-face or remote, to encourage creativity and foster innovation, while allowing all participants to feel involved, energized and productive:
- Fast workshop — 1 hour average
- Structured process — it has a beginning, middle and end, with fully identified steps
- Clear and actionable decisions — the aim is to come up with an action plan
- Democratic and collaborative — regardless of the argument power or job role
- Working together, but alone — some dynamics are done in isolation, without bias
The LDJ can be run by any group that thinks about the continuous improvement of their teams, products, processes or relationships. But it is important to ensure some prerequisites:
- A well-defined and not too broad topic
- Team with minimal knowledge of the topic
- A team of 2 to 8 people (recommended)
- One facilitator
- Collaborative tools (Miro, Mural… — there are already ready-to-use boards, see them at the end of the article)
And for the facilitator:
- Focus on the activities timebox
- Keep participants focused and excited
- Always target the proposed topic
- Bring a playlist, as it’s a very light and collaborative dynamic
Lightning Decision Jam Structure
The LDJ workshop is divided into 3 stages, each one with its own steps:
Identify the problems (15 minutes)
- Identify what is working within this topic — 6 minutes — Individually, everyone should fill in a post-it note with as many good points as possible, the things that are moving us forward. The facilitator then carries out the reading.
- Identify the problems — 6 minutes — Now the team changes focus, referring individually to what is holding us back or hindering us. Annoyances, errors, concerns related to the topic. The facilitator then carries out the reading.
- Prioritize the problems to attack — 3 minutes — Each team member has 3 votes and individually elects the problems they consider most pertinent to solve. The facilitator then reorders them from the most voted, with high priority, to the least voted, with low priority.
Idealize and prioritize solutions (18 minutes)
- Turn problems into challenges — 6 minutes — Together, the top rated problems should be converted into a question starting with “How Can We” to standardize and make them more actionable.
- Produce solutions in silence — 7 minutes — Idealize possible solutions to the identified challenges. To ensure variety (quantity over quality), it should be done silently, without discussion, clearly detailing and avoiding bias. When time runs out, everyone puts in their ideas.
- Prioritize the solution — 5 minutes — Each participant has 3 to 6 votes, depending on the number of people and solutions, choosing individually. The facilitator then reorders from the most voted solution to the least voted one, prioritizing what will be worked on.
Create the action plan (15 minutes)
- Decide what will be done — 10 minutes — It is time for the facilitator to ask everyone about the level of impact and effort of each solution, avoiding discussions longer than 30 seconds. Centering each item in the matrix first, and based on the discussion, place it in the right square and move to the next step with the ones that are in “Do it now” (focus on high impact — value, and low effort — cost/time).
- Build an action list — 5 minutes — list of experiments and what it takes to make each one happen, including experiment time (2 weeks recommended), success indicator, responsibles (maximum 2), and steps (at least 3). We thus have something that can be tested and that we can validate whether or not there is an improvement in 15 days.
The objective is not to find the perfect solution, but to prioritize those that can be tested quickly and that can have the greatest impact on the company, team or user.
Are you going to fail? Even if you do, you’ll fail and learn fast. Hence the recommendation for two weeks to implement and evaluate. With a simple follow-up:
Monitoring: 2 agendas per week, maximum 10 minutes, only with those responsible and the facilitator, sharing the results with everyone who participated.
Retro (Optional): If necessary, run a new LDJ, starting with the experiment; what worked and what didn’t; continuous innovation cycle.
- Guided Workshop — https://youtu.be/w9MvYDaA1Bk
- Step by step Manual — https://attachments.convertkitcdnh.com/113082/ae706627-6eff-4cac-a459-ceda642dc871/LDJ%20Booklet%202020.pdf
- Miro Template — https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_kt1PIic=/
- Miro template (Inv) — https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_lkBTL4A=/ (our favourite)
This is another practice that we encourage at Invillia and is part of our Global Growth Framework. To also get the so-called quick wins. From teams to the innovations we build side by side with game-changers. Enabling their incremental approach, continuously introducing new and better ways of doing things. Data, People, Action increasing and accelerating in scale, performance and quality the development of digital products and services_ Let’s create and evolve the next one together!