Picking a Problem Worth Solving From a Sea of Problems

Picking a Problem Worth Solving From a Sea of Problems

In the current environment, human-centric challenges abound, but you can’t focus on solving all of them. Many organizations complain not about having too few ideas, but about having TOO MANY IDEAS. Human-centered design principles can be incredibly helpful to assist with empathy, problem framing, problem re-framing, solutioning, prototyping, hypothesis testing, experimentation, and iteration. All of which can help you narrow down onto a few problems worth solving.

Preparing to Solve the Right Problem

I’d like to share with you here the recording of the keynote I delivered on 9 June 2020 at the virtual ISPIM Innovation Conference titled Picking a Problem Worth Solving From a Sea of Problems:

Because there are not a lot of great tools for Human-Centered Design (aka Design Thinking) I’ve been putting together some tools to make the approach a little more intuitive. I’ve either built, or am in the process of building tools for:

  1. Insight Generation (under construction)
  2. Science Fiction and Futurism (completed)
  3. Problem Finding Canvas (available)
  4. Problem Prioritization (completed)
  5. Problem Deep Dive (completed)

Some of my human-centered design approaches are covered in the virtual keynote video above, and below you’ll find a quick introduction to a simple but powerful tool I created for picking a search area and a challenge to design against:

Inexpensive Tool for Finding Problems Worth Solving

Problem Finding CanvasThe Problem Finding Canvas is intended to help you think deeply about the different areas to explore that you could address, the challenges that make up each of those areas to explore and the opportunities for innovation or improvement that exist in solving those challenges.

Key Focus Areas

The middle of the canvas is designed to help clients uncover more than just the obvious challenges, so be sure and dig deep into the details of the:

  • Users
  • Outcomes
  • Tools
  • Actions/Interactions

Desired Outcome

The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.

What’s Missing?

I’m in the middle of packaging together the other tools mentioned above into a suite of Human-Centered Design tools for your Design Thinking efforts and a broader Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™.

What tools do you wish you had for doing design thinking?

What tools are missing from your innovation toolbox that you wish you had?

Please leave a reply in the comments and maybe I can build them for you!

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Human-Centered Design, Innovation and Transformation consultant, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of The Change Planning Toolkit™. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden is a US Navy veteran and earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
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