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Itch, Pitch or Ditch


I do a fair amount of client workshops and one of the things which I always think is critical in extending out the value of a team spending time together thinking about what they do, how they could do stuff better and generating ideas is having as tangible a link as possible to achieving actionable change, doing things differently or actioning new priorities. It's pretty common at the end of workshops to run a 'what are we going to do next?' session but there may be many differently-shaped ideas that have come out (some small, quick wins, others that need much more work or further exploration), and focusing on what different stuff we're going to do without thinking about how we're going to make room for doing it can lead to resistance or unrealistic expectations about what's possible.

So I quite like getting delegates to affinity map against 'itch', 'pitch' or 'ditch'. 'Itch' are the ideas that you just have to put into action straight-away, the immediate priority, the quick wins, or the really critical changes that are an itch you have to scratch. 'Pitch' are the kind of ideas that are likely to be longer-term, perhaps dealing with significant issues or change and so require more work and planning, or a business-case to be made. 'Ditch' gets the attendees to think what they are going to stop doing in order to make room for the new. This is useful in forcing people to think about the stuff that may be taking up time but be of relatively low value. Time which they might re-allocate immediately toward higher value work or experimentation (to determine what that higher value work might be). The next step here is usually to identify who's going to do that and how you make progress and change visible, but it's important to recognise that ideas have different shapes and so are likely to need different approaches.

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