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Author's profile photo Itzhak Shoshan

How to best define a DT challenge?


In order to achieve good results from Design Thinking process you must define the challenge correctly. I came across of a useful method that was defined by IDC Media Innovation Lab and I wish to leverage this platform to share it with you.

The process is composed of 5 short steps and by the end of it you will have a well-defined “How Might We…” challenge.

Step 1: Customer Description

Try to define the end customer / user as specific as possible. By the end of the description you should be able to have a good mental picture of the identified user. The description should include name, age, location, business role, and other similar characteristics.

Step 2: Top Customer Needs / Challenges

Specify and prioritize the various needs and challenges of the end user. You could based it on the “pain” and “gain” sections of an empathy map.

Step 3: Supporting Quotes

Try to interview few of the targeted users and add some supporting quotes that best illustrate the main needs and challenges.

Step 4: Existing Solutions or substitutes

List several ways in which the user is addressing the need / challenge today; either with an invented / improvised solution or with an existing product or service.

Step 5: “How Might We” Question Definition

By now, you should have a good mental understanding of the challenge and you are ready to describe it in the form of HMW question. When phrasing the challenge avoid limiting the solution space by defining the challenge too narrowly but do map the constrains of the challenge by avoiding to phrase it too broadly.

This is it. You are done with phrasing the customer need in a “How Might We” question. Next, you will need to follow the Design Thinking process and identify a solution that addresses the specified need. Good Luck!

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