Lightning Decision Jam

Use Lightning Decision Jam whenever a group of people needs to identify challenges, solve problems and make decisions.

Help teams get things done at lightning speed without unstructured discussions!

Created by AJ&Smart

lightning decision jam


How is Lightning Decision Jam structured?

When should you use this template?

Use Lightning Decision Jam whenever a group of people needs to identify challenges, solve problems and make decisions. It’s helpful to frame LDJ with a broad topic, for example:

  • Our checkout flow
  • Our design management process
  • Our office environment
  • How we organise events
  • Keeping up with our competition
  • Improving the sales process
  • Increasing growth

Who is it for?

The ideal group size strikes a balance between getting a wide range of input and ideas and keeping the session short (it’s called “Lightning” for a reason). The more people take part, the longer LDJ will take. 

The minimum group size to use in LDJ is 3, the sweet spot is 4 to 6 people. We usually recommend a maximum number of participants. More than that can make it challenging to keep the group focused on the session.

If you want to run a session with a lot of people, it’s possible to break them up into smaller groups. This is a great way to popularise LDJs in the entire company and also a fun team building exercise, but we recommend you do this only when you are really comfortable running the exercise and you have co- facilitators that can jump between groups to help you.

Who should facilitate the session?

It’s important that somebody takes the responsibility of facilitating the session and driving the process. This can be either you, or any other team member that is familiar with LDJs. As a facilitator, you can take part in the process and contribute ideas, but you also need to make sure that the entire group stays focused and doesn’t get distracted or tangled up in discussions.

If you notice that a discussion is starting, you should (politely) shut it down. 

Here are a few phrases that can help you:

  • “I don’t think we can come to a satisfying conclusion on this right now, let’s come back to the exercise and revisit your point afterwards.”

  • “I think this discussion might not be relevant for other people in the group right now, can we move on?”

  • “If you feel strongly about this, take note of this on a sticky note and let the group have a chance to think about solutions together.”

  • “We don’t have much time left for the exercise, I’d rather have us move on and discuss this later, if it’s okay.”

“I know it feels strange doing this in silence, but it’s important to let everybody get their ideas out without influencing each other. 

How much time do you need?

The durations for each part of LDJ are guidelines. We suggest that you stick to them if this is the first time you are facilitating LDJ, but you might want to adapt them to suit your situation better.

Depending on the size of the group and the amount of problems you are tackling, LDJ can take as little as 30 mins and as long as 1.5 hours

Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

AJ&Smart is an award-winning product design, strategy, and innovation studio with particular expertise in using Design Sprints to help our partners with product design, product strategy, and rapid innovation.

We use the same principles LDJ is based on for everything we do at AJ&Smart – from planning events, improving our office space, to designing new workshops.

Cutting out ineffective, circular discussions and replacing them with structured progress is a powerful way to boost a team’s productivity and happiness, and we want as many people as possible to experience a better way of solving problems.

So try out Lightning Decision Jam yourself and spread the word!

If you’re interested in learning how to run more workshops like the LDJ or are interested in learning more about facilitation and workshops in general then watch our free 1-hour training here.

If you have any questions, or if you just want to tell us how you use LDJs, contact us on YouTube, Instagram or write us an email at! 

Happy Workshopping!

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