When solving problems within your business, it can be challenging to understand where to start. We have a process that can help you to identify, define and resolve any problems within your department or sector 

Through our Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ), we help you to identify, and overcome your business problems. The two-hour workshop allows you and your team to work efficiently and effectively through issues and challenges.  

So, where to start? Try these seven steps!   

Firstly, grab these seven tools, they will come in handy during the workshop to complete the seven steps: 

Step 1:  Define what is working 

(10 Mins) 

Copy the image of the sailboat below on your whiteboard, waterlines and all.  

The top half of the boat represents what’s working well and the bottom half shows what’s holding your business back.    

Once that’s complete, gather your team together and identify everything that’s working well; This should take around four minutes and can be as simple as ‘Our team work well together’.  

Try to write as many as possible and stick to one idea per sticky note.   

After the four minutes are up, take it in turns sticking your post-it notes to the top of the sailboat. 

Step 2: Capture all the problems

(5 Mins) 

Once you’ve highlighted everything that’s working well, it’s time to focus on the areas that you might feel are a place of concern. 

Write down as many as possible. It can be tough, but being honest about the pain points will help you resolve and develop a solution later in the workshop!   

Once the four minutes are up, stick everyone’s ideas to the bottom of the sailboat – this should take around a minute.   

Step 3: Prioritise problems  

(3 mins)  

It’s time to vote!   

Each team member should now have three sticky dots that have been given to them by the moderator. Looking at the challenge areas, you should now consider the most relevant to solve and place their dots on that post-it.  

This should be completed without any discussion.   

You can vote on your own challenge areas, and you can vote more than once if it’s a challenge statement you feel strongly about.   

Step 4: Reframe the problems as standardised challenges 

(3 mins )

Following on from step 3, it’s time to reframe the problems. This is usually completed by the moderator in the form of a standardised challenge, helping you to create an array of solutions.  

This process can be aided by a sticky note containing a ‘How Might We’ (HMW) solutions. A How might we solution is a way for your department or sector to understand how you might work on the problem and find a solution.  For example, if you have a sticky note that says ‘Lack of planning’ this can be rephrased to say ‘HMW – Make sure we improve our planning.’  

This will need to be repeated for each problem statement that had multiple votes. 

Step 5: Ideate without discussion 

(6 mins ) 

During Step 5 each team member is given five minutes to write as many solutions as possible for the HMW – this should be done independently.  

Removing discussion from the workshop ensures a variety of solutions to the problem/ challenge statement are allowed to emerge. 

For instance, going back to our example from Step 4, to communicate better we might use Microsoft teams to ensure all projects are up to date, that everyone in the team is aware of who is responsible for the task and when it needs to be completed.  

Step 6: Prioritise solutions 

(5 mins) 

Once you have written out multiple solutions to the problem, it’s time to vote on which ones you think would be best to solve the HMW statement.   

This is a very similar exercise to Step 3 however, during this session, you will be allocated six voting dots each and up to four minutes to prioritise which solution you think is best.  


Step 7: Decide what to execute and make solutions actionable  

(15 mins) 

Finally, it’s time to decide on what to execute. This is completed using an effort / impact scale, helping to see how much effort is required to execute the solutions. Weighing them against this scale helps to judge which solutions should be tried now and which ones might take a little more time to implement. 

  • ‘Effort’ is how much time and energy you think it will take to implement.   
  • ‘Impact’ is the degree to which you think it would solve the issues.   

Top Tip 

The moderator needs to be proactive during this step as they are the ones who will open the discussion, reviewing each solution to add them to the effort/ impact scale.   

Below is a list of what the moderator needs to do:  

  1. Draw the effort / impact scale   
  2. Start with the impact 
  3. Take the top-voted solution and hover over the scale 
  4. Ask participants to express their thoughts by saying ‘higher or lower’

The moderator should move the sticky note up or down the impact axis until the team members stop saying higher or lower. Any conversion should be stopped if it exceeds 20 seconds. 

Once the impact has been determined, the moderator should ask the group ‘is the effort higher or lower?’ and asks participants to say ‘left (least effort) or right (most effort)’.  

The moderator then needs to move the sticky note left or right until the group stops saying ‘left or right’.  

This process should be repeated for the other top-voted solutions.   

You now have a clear overview of the high-impact solutions , and those that will take more effort. The moderator should quickly mark the sticky notes in the ‘sweet-spot’ (high impact but minimum effort) using an alternative colour sticky dot to help to identify them later.   

Another way to organise the board would be to use definitions (see below). This helps to decide how and when you might act on the ideas.   

There you have it, the seven simple steps to solving any business problem, and gaining the key to success.  

This exercise is a great way to get your team used to problem-solving and experimenting with a new approach, without overthinking and over-discussing. A fun yet effective approach to problem-solving!   

Keen to adapt this technique within your team? 

 Contact the team to find out more