How do you find problems to solve?

Yesterday I wrote about looking for problems, not solutions. That’s not the way that most people think, so a few people asked me how they go about finding problems? It’s a good question.

There are many ways you can do this. Here are a few of my favourites: –

  1. Start looking for things that don’t work. Begin to write them down – create a ‘bugs’ notebook.
  2. Ask your customers what their frustrations are. What problems do they have that you could solve?
  3. Get good at observation. Become an anthropologist. This is a great video with Tom Kelly of IDEO, which nicely summarises how you can do this.
  4. What frustrates you? What could be designed better? Next time you’re in the airport imagine how you could redesign check-in, security etc.

Have fun with this, it’ll soon become second nature. I do this all the time now, drives my wife nuts!

Once you’ve got yourself a few problems, then you can start to explore them to see if that problem is the right one to solve, or whether there’s an underlying problem. But that’s a whole other post……..

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