Defining the problem

July 15, 2017


As The Canvas Project garnered more attention, I began asking myself “what specific problem am I tackling?” Fortunately I received a wealth of insightful and constructive feedback which helps me better empathize with the target audience and identify opportunities to deliver value. And frankly, the ‘problem’ will continue to be a work-in-progress as I iterate through different content/solutions.


How might we enable emerging leaders to accomplish the most meaningful thing for them.

At the core of problem solving is the ability to define a specific challenge/opportunity you want to tackle, and this is applicable with anything — work, school, relationships, etc. In traditional approaches, problem solving takes a more rigid path whereby problems are broken down into smaller, exclusive challenges. And while that remains effective, modern-day problems are proving to be more multi-facted, unstructured, and complex. In design thinking, problems are framed as ‘how might we’ statements which maximizes creativity, prototyping, emphasis on the user. The key is not to get it perfect, rather, to have enough to begin brainstorming and prototyping solutions as quick as possible.



1) Empathize with your target audience/user (see prior post)


2) List the pain points / opportunities you want to address


3) Write a single sentence that conveys what you want to do (I tend to use the ‘how might we’ format)


4) What is the 10x moonshot impact that you want to have?


5) What are some of the constraints and context?


6) Repeat and factor in 3, 4, 5 (Ideal if you can immediately think of 5 possible solutions to prototype)


What is a problem statement you are currently tackling? Comment below 👇💯

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