What is the problem? To be able to solve a problem with the best possible solution it is a requirement to know the problem. Us the problem definition method is a possible way to get a good understanding of the problem and avoid unnecessary work and effort in a wrong direction.

What is a problem?

A problem can be described as a miss standing of a current situation. Issues and ineffectiveness is the result of this situation. To be more effective a change needs to be done. Always keep in mind that a problem definition is an explanation with a special point of view. Mostly your own view. Getting a clearer view on a problem can require a wider point of view.


Define the Problem in detail

The problem definition is a very important part in every design process. Necessarily it is important to understand the problem in-depth. A useful method in the problem definition is to ask several questions and collect the answers. This method can be used several times to get a more deeply view on the real problem.

Ask the following questions:

–          What is the problem

–          Who has the problem

–          What are relevant context factors

–          What are the goals

–          What are the side effects to be avoided

–          Which actions are admissible


What is the problem?

Describe the problem and what has happened. What is the issue?

Who has the problem?

Think about the people affected by the problem. Who is involved in the process? Also who was involved in the situation when the problem happens?

What are relevant context factors?

What has led to the problem? Causes and related events. Describe the situation when the problem has happened.

What are the goals?

What needs to be changed to solve the issue? What needs to be done to avoid the problem happen again?

What are the side effects to be avoided?

When thinking about the problem what are possible side effects and how to avoid them? Think about what can happen and what would it mean. You can also collect information about possible side effects. What has happened while the problem occurred and are there any parts affected next to the main process?

Which actions are admissible?

Think about possible steps to solve the problem. What can be done when the problem has happened? Possibilities and what should be avoided.



Answering these questions at the current state of your problem analyses will give you a detailed description of the real problem. If you identify that the problem you see is a result of a different more difficult problem you can create a tree structure where you can manage several levels of analyses. Put the problem in relation and identify the real route cause of the issue.


Now you have a detailed description of your problem and you can start the process for solving it. Start the design process and solve the problem. Design prototypes or processes. Develop the solution and move forward.



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