section 0001 {declassified}

How to Solve Problems with Design Thinking

Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

Topic: Strategy

The most successful brands aren't better or cheaper. They're different. More importantly, they're different in ways that customers find compelling. - Marty Neumeier

February 12, 2020 14:31

Josiah Duenes

Last week I mentioned how important innovation is. I want to add to that. It seems like a daunting task. You may be thinking, "How the heck am I suppose to be innovative?" I want to give some clear ways to do this with some simple thinking and framing problems.

Innovation doesn't mean that you have to have some never before seen product. Although if you do, that's great!

The most successful brands aren't better or cheaper. They're different. More importantly, they're different in ways that customers find compelling. - Marty Neumeier

Being different can mean many things. Your product is different. The experience is different. Your marketing, processes, communication, and branding can all be compelling and different!

One example of this is a company named Chubbies. Some of y'all may have heard of them. I know I buy from them every now and then. They are anti office and all their marketing. If you view their site, you will why!

Let's use some design thinking principles to frame some problems or solutions to you and your team to work at.

First, here is the design thinking definition for those who might not know:

Design thinking is the process of using prototypes to work through creative challenges. You could also say thinking by making.

There are 5 Ps of design thinking.

  • Problemizing
  • Pinballing
  • Probing
  • Prototyping
  • Proofing


Today, we will just look at problemizing and I will continue to go through each one in the weeks to come.

Here, we never want to accept the problem at face value. We try to dig deep and see the root of the problem with a few questions that were framed nicely by Marty Neumeier.

  • Is this the right problem to solve?
  • Is it worthy of our best efforts?
  • What other problems could we solve that would bring more value to our company or our customers?

The last question you could make visual with an impact effort graph.

Now, instead of jumping straight into a solution, we frame the problem.

  • State the problem
  • List the benefits of solving the problem
  • Describe the opportunity costs of ignoring it.

Need an example?

Problem Statement

There are too many tasks to complete throughout the day and it has been causing leads to slip through the cracks and projects to sometimes fall behind. This is creating customer dissatisfaction.

Solution Benefit

The right system could ease the scattering, automate some of the busy tasks that take up mental space and time, onboard clients easier, and allow us to work on the bigger tasks knowing the others will work on their own.

Opportunity Costs

If we do nothing, it will be a downward spiral from employees being scattered, small tasks slipping through the cracks, miscommunication, upset management, and a bad reputation for projects always falling behind.

Resist the urge to solve the problem. Keep framing it in different ways so you know how to approach it with the right solution.

Next week we will get into pinballing to talk about how some problems can be solved in different and unique ways.

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end of document {declassified} copyright gamma design 2021