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Define the problem

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Here are some steps to help define the problem for an implementation initiative:

Gather data

Collect data and information that is relevant to the initiative, such as customer feedback, market trends, and performance metrics. This will help you better understand the problem and identify the root causes.

Engage stakeholders

Engage stakeholders who will be affected by the initiative, such as employees, customers, partners, and other members of the community. Ask them questions to gather their perspectives on the problem and their ideas on potential solutions.

Analyse the data

Analyze the data and information you have collected to identify patterns, trends, and root causes of the problem. This will help you to define the problem in a more concrete and specific way.

Develop a problem statement

Develop a clear and concise problem statement that summarises the problem you are trying to solve. This should include the background of the problem, the impact it is having, and the goals you want to achieve through the initiative.

Validate with stakeholders

Validate the problem statement with stakeholders to accurately reflect their perspectives and concerns. This will help you build support for the initiative and ensure all stakeholders are aligned on the problem and the goals.

By following these steps, you can define the problem in a way that is clear, specific, and aligned with the perspectives and concerns of all stakeholders. This will help you to design and implement solutions that are effective and have a positive impact on the stakeholders and the organisation.

“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” Albert Einstein said.

Those were wise words, but from what we have observed, most organisations don’t heed them when tackling innovation projects. Indeed, when developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren’t sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they’re attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important. Without that rigour, organisations miss opportunities, waste resources, and pursue innovation initiatives that aren’t aligned with their strategies. 

How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem?


To define your problem, consider these points
  • Your stakeholders have an important input in defining the problem
  • Make sure you are not defining the solution rather than the problem.
  • Be concise – who does the problem affect, what is the issue, and localise to your work area.
  • To create your action list, please think about the problem and define the problem you would like to fix.