Product Design Process: SOLVE PROBLEMS AND MAKE DECISIONS FAST (Lightning Decision Jam) | Aj&Smart

July 29, 2019 posted by

this exercise that I'm going to show you is basically a way to cut out the useless unstructured conversation that usually happens in all kinds of meetings that you've ever been to this can be designing a new product designing new features for a product trying to come up with solutions to a problem that you're having with a product trying to solve problems within a team and a company actually pretty much any problem you can possibly imagine this exercise can solve in a very very quick way and a very structured way so here's what you're going to need for the exercise pink post-its some plain looking where post-its rectangular post-its some dots and some dots of another color sharpies for everyone and a scissors for the moderator it's a very important snip snip a timer we use the time timer it's actually not very good to the point is that you can see the time left over I'm gonna get to the end it's supposed to beep everybody in the room can see how much time is left it's extremely important to choose a moderator in the group this moderator can even be someone who's taking part of the exercise this person's gonna bring people through the exercises step by step if you don't do this there's gonna be total chaos playlist and if you don't want to find one yourself just search on Spotify for AJ and smart workshops you also just need some sort of flat surface something like this for people to stick stuff onto and there's the timer going again what does it do in this example of the exercise that we're going to show you I'm going to be the moderator you can see I'm both taking part and moderating the exercises the moderators main goal is to get people through the exercises but also to get people to shut up if they start talking the moderator gives everybody post-its and a sharpie gives them seven minutes and you're gonna get each person to write as many problems or challenges they see in general everybody in the team they're all gonna be writing down the challenges they have and the moderator once the timer is up is going to tell them to stop all right guys so you can stop now so each person is gonna have whatever like 15 to 20 at the end so I'm just gonna write one example here to show you so we're working on improving a design team here and one of the problems that came up in one of these exercises was that we realized that a lot of people actually don't know what's happening on other projects that they're not working on and start to feel left out so this could be one example let's do one more so here's another problem that's even slightly related to the other one this this app that we're working on the project never ends it's starting to get boring starting to get even a little bit stressful with the client so this could be one problem that comes out of it the next step is very very simple the moderator is going to call each person out one by one and all they're gonna do is take their pile of problems stick them on one by one and they're going to explain very quickly to the group likes maximum 30 seconds per post-it what is this problem about so they're just gonna say this rain-x app and i feel like it's getting really stressful it feels like it's going on for months this is really really annoying me but this is a challenge that this person has remember these problems and challenges can be anything at all you just have the general topic in the group to start off with so let's use this one as an example and move on to the next step whew okay so the next step is very simple the moderator is gonna give each person in the team two dots you can't see my fingers two dots it's as simple as this get the dots cut them out and give everybody including the moderator himself in this case if he's actually taking part of it two dots and everybody's going to silently very importantly silently without discussing the problems vote on the biggest problems that they're maybe having as a team right now rules for the voter you can put two dots on one post that if you think it's the most important you can also put dots on your own that's no problem that's it the moderator is going to go up to the surface look at the voltage problems and just put them in order of priority this shouldn't take more than a few seconds they're just putting them in order of the votes and you can ignore the ones the ones are not important we have enough things here just throw the ones away whatever so in the end you're gonna have something like this how might we x' are basically just a way to rewrite these problems in a standardized way that we can then create solutions from so we're going to just make how might we x' for the top two rows so let me just show you a quick example of that hey let's have a look at the first one the problem says rain x app project never ends getting stressful and boring let's look at a way of standardizing that and making it easier to solve as a challenge how might we make sure projects don't drag on so rather than specifically thinking about that app we now have a how might we say how might we make sure projects don't drag on so the moderator is now gonna write these how my tweeze for all of the top voted priority prioritized challenges and also keep these in the order that the priority is here as well just so you remember later okay this was a high priority so here you can see that all of the challenges have been turned into how might we post it it makes things much much easier later okay let's move on to the next step which is actually one of the most important which is the solution building the next step is one of the most important steps of the entire exercise and this is where we're going to start start building solutions for these how my tweeze let's take a look for this exercise and for this example we're only gonna focus on the top voted how might we and what if there's two top voted how might we just choose the left one don't dwell on anything that moderator has to really make sure people don't stop and start talking by now well I think the right one's more fun or whatever it doesn't matter just use the left one and move on the moderator gives everybody a contrasting color posted block they're going to create as many solutions as possible to the top voted challenge they should be producing quantity not necessarily quality right now it's just about production later you can curate it's all part of the system so the team gets seven minutes to do this and really just pump out as many ideas as possible if the moderators see someone stopping and thinking about what to draw what to write they should start telling them to move on and just start writing something and give them some hints like how would over solve this just give them some tips the moderators goal here is to really help people produce as much as possible so let's have an example of a couple of solutions to how might we make sure that projects don't drag on because we're a design agency this is going to be a little bit in the context of that so what if we would sell very specific packages to clients that only last about two weeks okay let's try another one so weekly check-ins with clients maybe that would be something that could help clear milestones from start of project close the company with the solutions you need to write them in a way that people can understand them without getting an explanation because they're not going to get an explanation they're just going to be reading them and voting for them on the surface so once the seven minutes are off everybody goes to the surface and just sticks their solutions on as fast as possible okay so guys time is up take your solutions and just put them as quickly as possible onto this surface here don't overthink it don't try to be neat just get them up as fast as possible the moderator gives everybody six dots this time I'm what they're gonna do is they're gonna vote on the solutions that they think are the most interesting and that they would want to test in the short term and when I say short term I mean next week or this week just start voting now remember you can vote on your own you can put two or three dots on one just start voting please don't discuss exactly like the last time now the moderator goes and quickly puts them in order of priority so now you have a prioritized list of solutions for the challenges okay in the next step I'm going to show you supply I didn't talk about earlier it's called magic paper and this is actually pretty good if you want to make a very very quick whiteboard out of nothing within a few seconds so it just magically sticks on here alright so the next exercise we're going to need something called an effort impact scale and this is a way that we're going to be able to decide exactly what to work on so let's have a look okay here we have our prioritized solutions and here we have our effort impact scale this part is extremely important for the moderator the moderator right now is going to have to try to put these into the effort impact scale impact is the impact it will have for the problem we're trying to solve an effort is the amount of effort it will take us to actually solve this so what the moderator is going to do and this is the first time that you will be actually letting people sort of talk it's just going to put the post-it right in the middle of the effort impact scale and say higher or lower impact so everyone's going to say higher lower higher lower has to be very strict not to start conversation is just higher or lower that's all they should say now you have your effort impact scale and what you're gonna do what you're gonna see here is on the top left is the sweet spot so this is where you have the high impact low effort solutions these are the things that are going to be solvable ASAP anything that's on here also high impact but it is very high effort so maybe this is something you want to do but maybe not something you want to do in the short term so to make sure we don't forget which ones are up here we're gonna mark them with a green dot just to make sure we don't forget them just the ones here in the sweet spot get mark so now we've gone from a group of people being able to share the problems and challenges they've had without talking being able to vote and prioritize the challenges without talking and produce solutions for these once again without talking and now we've been able to prioritize what to actually work on so the moderator is going to ask the person who actually created this one to to talk about how could we exactly do this here it says clear milestones from the start of the project what we want to do is make this into an actionable item so that we can work on it straight away ok so here's an example of an actionable way to actually achieve this we say for the next client and this is a client that comes in on Monday we begin with a clear milestones overview we also send them a pre email with the milestones you can do this for all of the items that are in the sweet spot and you can decide to maybe turn these high effort high impact ones also into actionable steps and put them into your backlog or your to-do list or however you keep track of your tasks so that's it in a short amount of time your team is being able to go from creating challenges and solutions from a very vague topic to being able to actually create now an actionable to do or next week you've also been able to do all of this without talking without discussion about all this stressful messiness that happens unusual sort of creative thinking meetings we use this principle of cutting out open discussion in almost every single exercise we do in every almost every single project we do we think it's the number one thing to inject into the problem-solving process to improve it drastically so cutting out open unstructured discussion we think that structure and discipline equals freedom when it comes to creative problem-solving hope you like this exercise and look at our Instagram or something I don't know so early it's very early I love you you have to tell me if hair stuff goes wrong or that when cleaning


44 Replies to “Product Design Process: SOLVE PROBLEMS AND MAKE DECISIONS FAST (Lightning Decision Jam) | Aj&Smart”

  1. Tim Christian says:

    Starting a sprint week tomorrow and this video has been very helpful in giving me some better tools to use in getting to consensus. Thanks!

  2. Zafira Amani says:

    Love this video! I want to ask, is there any paperless/digital board alternatives to this kind of discussion? Thank you very much

  3. Shoyab Khan says:

    This one just went strictly in to my brain .where do u even get this ideas braaa

  4. Viridiana says:

    50% of my time goes away in meetings :/ meetings meetings sigh

  5. Archibald Tuttle says:

    You speak from my heart! Unstructured, useless waffling is a red flag for me.

  6. rabin sharma says:

    you guys are absolutely awesome, you people and your videos are my product design guru.

  7. Dagmara Glowa says:

    Great video, thanks, very helpful and step-by-step! Would love to know what the song in the background of the video is – could you point me to it? It would work for my workshop, too 🙂

  8. Glen Gao says:

    Could you remove the background music? That is too noisy

  9. Matheus Seabra says:

    That poster on the wall tho***

  10. Ulysse Ducamp says:

    Very interesting, thank you very much for creating and sharing content like this 🙂

  11. Lee Winbush says:

    Is there a limit to the number of participants involved in this exercise before it becomes unwieldy, or is it scalable to, say, 25 people?

  12. Hazel says:

    Sooooooo goooooooood

  13. Oğuz Akankan says:

    love that channel

  14. Jiwon Kim says:

    This would be a dream job. Seriously.

  15. Cansu Seden says:

    Really good video, helped me alot! Also you cute..and funny 🤓 Thanks a lot, keep up the good work! ^^

  16. Abdul Akbar says:

    The problem being addressed in this session is "Improving a Design Team".

  17. Hobbes Chen says:

    great video and insights!

  18. Bruno Fernandes says:

    thank you for sharing 🤩

  19. Alex Cottrell says:

    Excellent vid, watched it yesterday, used technique today!

  20. Waqas Mehmood Kiyani says:

    why wouldn't you stick the magic paper to the other side of the glass? Save Trees

  21. sherwin delos santos says:

    5:56 "only gonna focus on the top voted hmws" – previous step no voiting was done. How is it so?

  22. ganesh deveppa says:

    hi, first of all Im very much happy to see this video and understand the process. Thanks again. I have a questions what is the reason of time bound with restriction of 7min. for problems & solution writing? Is it something related to human psychology. Need to know.

  23. Eric Coutet says:

    What to do if some problems and solutions written by the participants are the same?

  24. ThePwnagealle says:

    Hey AJ & Smart! I love your videos! Please keep them comming! =D

    Why do you say that the "Time Timer" is not that great? 🙂
    I thought that was one of the essential things in a sprint!

    Perhaps you could make a video called "Sprinting Gear" haha :'D and go through what you think is 2.0 and why 🙂

  25. Rocky Hox says:

    The best video on YouTube!

  26. Mariano says:

    Thanks for the video Jon, I really like all of them. Quick question, how can you measure the impact of a solution/story if it hasn't yet been executed?

  27. Carlos Cristian Camacho Frausto says:

    I love the way you structure this way of solving problems. It is so logic and intuitive. Most of the time we imagine the solution, but skip the problem statement, making it more difficult to put solutions down from our mind into something tangible. It’s even worse when feeling overwhelmed by problems, and not knowing how and where to start.

  28. Hans Dampf says:

    Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing such inspiring content!
    Two short questions: Imagine you have a team with quite different mindsets, for example managers vs designers. Would you recommend holding two seperate sessions? Do you have any experiences about the maximum amout of people you can do such a workshop?

    Thanks and cheers

  29. Hernan Virgolini says:

    juju amazing

  30. LezLuna says:

    I love all of this. Brilliant!

  31. Jaakko Palokangas says:

    Good video. Thanks for sharing it. One question though: why prioritize solutions before the effort and impact matrix because those are aiming for the same thing?

  32. Young Human Club says:

    thanks! Such a cool channel! 🙂 Really digging into it and taking this to my business & community again! 🙂 awesome!

  33. Patricia Fachini Pontalti says:

    Love it!!!! Just used with my students from Innovation. We are going to run a sprint on social challenges and used the LDJ to choose which social project to choose. It was amazing how many good ideas showed up!!!

  34. Gregory Onyeahialam says:

    Why is it important not to discuss about the ideas?

  35. Gabriella Winters says:

    Most useful video I've watched on YouTube. Ever.

  36. Manav Madaan says:

    8:40 can I please get a link to purchase this from

  37. jpl5007 says:

    Getting your team and organization to fully understand and utilize this process is the first issue most of us will have to tackle. How to Design Sprint 'How to Design Sprint?'?

  38. Patricia Fachini Pontalti says:

    Great video, guys!!!!! Really nice sharing! Impact x Effort Matrix was familiar due to my Lean Six Sigma background, but loved the way it was build here! Also really really good explanations, Jonathan!

  39. Priszcilla Várnagy says:

    This is awesome video! It is absolutely in line with our digital method in Be-novative ( ). Now you gave me inspiration, thank you! In case you can imagine any sort of partnership, please check it out, we have been using the same principles: . Anyone can give it a try to run a creative problem solving session (challenge) under 20mins with a built-in moderator using digital post-its and Impact – Feasibility voting.

    Don't want to spare your channel, just always happy about synergies. Thanks for creating awesome content as always!

  40. Nathan Henrique says:


  41. Jamal Khan says:

    Im excited thanks 🙂

  42. Duurii Bard says:

    Wow This gold thanks

  43. Mike Wlodarski says:

    Love this video, it was really helpful and problem solving sessions like that seems really easy 🙂 thanks!

  44. DuhYash says:

    You got a new Subscriber bcoz of this Video…Great work

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