Lightning Decision Jam​

Lightning Decision Jam offers a well-structured approach to take a decision combining silent collection of issues, selection of issues presented, ideating solutions and voting thereof.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation: Several weeks for planning,
Implementation: 1-2 days
Follow-up: Internal to the group who need to implement and monitor

Target group size

<15 people​
15-30 people​
30-100 people​
100-250 people​
> 250 people



Resources for a short workshop

Human resources needed
At least one person for preparation, moderation and documentation

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

The Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ)  was created by the UX design company AJ&Smart to speed up solution finding and decision making. It is a very structured, timed, disciplined and focused process that follows the flow of ‘note – vote – decide’ and combines elements from other concepts like Design Thinking, Gamestorming and Agile.

LDJs can be used for finding and co-creating solutions to a problem, development of projects new strategies and processes, or organization of events.

Facilitators and initiators of LDJs can expect to see engaged participants, focused work in a fast-paced process that prevents over-thinking and over-discussing and results in an informed and reflected decision that incorporates the concerns of the participant present.

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

The method follows eight steps: ​

1. Things that work: A sailboat picture is shown on a (virtual) whiteboard. Each participant brainstorms as many aspects that go well in relation to the topic on individual post-its in 4min silence without any discussion. Each attendee explains and puts their post-its on the sailboat (max. 1-2min per person) with no interruptions allowed unless for clarification.​

2. Things that don’t work: Same procedure as above but aspects that are problematic are collected and post-its are not explained, only sticked to the sailboat and read in silence.​

3. Problem prioritization: Each participant chooses their top problems with three dots.​

4. Reframing: The facilitator re-writes the top problems into standardized challenges. ​

5. Ideation: Individually, as many solutions to the problems are brainstormed for 5min in silence and then sticked to a wall, without explanations.​

6. Prioritization: Each participant chooses their top solutions with six dots in 4min.​

7. Decision: Top solutions are arranged in an effort/impact matrix and selected thereby.​

8. Next steps: Participants create three actionable steps for the selected solutions.​

Blended participation

You can facilitate the method virtually or in-person. It is recommended to keep them separate but offer both options to be very inclusive. Once you have selected solutions, you could link to an Online Idea competition, if you need to further priorities the top solutions

Digital communication

  • Mobilise potential participants strategically via social media
  • Create publicity during event through live Tweets
  • Document and share results

Good to know

  • The ideal size for one group ranges from 3-8 people. Of course, several LDJs can be run in parallel on the same topic for a larger audience
  • It takes 30-90min, depending on the group size
  • A facilitator guides the process and keeps time
  • Starting with positive aspects sparks a positive atmosphere and prevents complaining and increases problem-solving at a later stage
  • Reframing can be repeated for as many problems as needed
  • Read further:​

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