Spaghetti Wall

An always-open space for collaborating on new problems and ideas
Contributed by

Jerry Becker

Published April 22, 2021
Collection
3

What Is Spaghetti Wall?

The Spaghetti Wall is a physical or digital workspace that is set up as a place to capture budding ideas/challenges in your organization. As we go about our work, we encounter pain points and problems that, if solved, would help improve our way of working. Likewise, we may have "aha" moments for a incremental or even disruptive innovation. The Spaghetti Wall is a designated space where these problems and ideas can be captured at any time and organically collaborated on by others in your organization. See what sticks!

Why Do Spaghetti Wall?

Visualizing these problems and ideas creates transparency and collaboration within the organization, as well as ensures we are always seeking ways to improve our way of working. It also serves as a starting point for new ideas to mature through collaboration.

Colleagues can visit the Spaghetti Wall at any time and quickly align on current problems and ideas the rest of the organization is capturing and working on. This not only promotes transparency, but colleagues can also naturally gravitate toward the problems they are drawn to and help mature the idea by adding clarifying questions and ideas to the wall. This gives your problem-solvers and dreamers an outlet to use their skills to help drive organizational impact as well as strengthen your culture of innovation and collaboration. Collaboration for the win!!

How to do Spaghetti Wall?

  1. On a large, physical wall space or rolling whiteboard, label the Spaghetti Wall. If performing this with a remote team, create a board in your favorite digital whiteboarding tool (Miro, MURAL, Jamboard, etc). As this is a constantly ongoing practice, this space should be one that can be occupied by the Spaghetti Wall indefinitely (it's good to have it in the same place so people always know where to find it 🙂 )

  2. Communicate to the rest of the team what the Spaghetti Wall is and where to find it. Encourage colleagues to add ideas/challenges to the board, 1-per stickie note.

If you have an idea for the wall...

  1. As you go about your work, look for problems/challenges/ideas you think the rest of the team might want to collaborate on. Add those ideas to the Spaghetti Wall in a space separate from existing stickies. Reach out to individuals you think might be able to add value and ask them to add thoughts.

TIP: In the early stages of your problem/idea try to align on a clearly-articulated problem statement and customer/user segment. You want to communicate as early as possible what problem you're trying to solve, and who has that problem. Then, create a solution statement that is worded in a way that it clearly solves the problem statement you aligned on.

  1. If your idea starts to get some good traction and collaboration, consider refining the ideas with dot-voting to hone in on the solution collaborators think has the most potential for success. Refine this idea by adding some specifics.

  2. Allow this idea to mature with your collaborators until you're at a point where you feel you have a strong enough idea that you want to rapidly prototype it for validation. At that point, create a Lean Canvas or pitch deck to take to leadership for feedback.

TIP: If you're having a hard time organically progressing the idea, try a more structured approach like a Decision Jam to help outline steps to move the idea along.

If you are looking for problems to help solve...

  1. In your spare time, visit the wall and read through the current problems/ideas present. If any interest you, feel free to add stickies near it with questions/ideas you may have to help it mature. Suggest follow-on practices to run such as dot-voting to converge on ideas, or solution-sketching to visualize potential solutions. Keep visiting the wall in your spare time to continue driving the idea forward!

If leadership has a specific problem they want to solve...

  1. If leadership has a prioritized list of problems they want to focus on, take one and add it to a dedicated section of the Spaghetti Wall just for high-pri leadership challenges.

  2. Allow the team to diverge and converge on ideas to come to an aligned solution to experiment with

  3. Take back to leadership for feedback & possible implementation

Tip: Have someone or a small group of people who are willing to help manage the Spaghetti Wall itself. This includes taking leadership challenges and adding them to that area of the board, as well as reaching out to collaborators to take mature ideas off the board (as they progress to development) and remove stale ideas that haven't been progressed in a wile (don't worry - if the idea becomes valid again, someone will add it back 🙂 )

And that's it! Now you have a common place for collaborating to solve problems and generate new ideas for your organization! Allow the Spaghetti Wall to organically evolve as your organization continues to learn form the work you do. And don't forget to share out updates and success stories from the wall to encourage more collaboration!

Look at Spaghetti Wall

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Spaghetti Wall practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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