Complexity: Medium
Time required: 1-2 hours
Material required: pen, post-its
Other: Try to include people who have a good understanding of the social problem and the context in which the solution is to be created.

References: Julier & Kimbell’s The Social Design Method’s Menu,

What is it for?

Defining a problem is an important step to creating an effective and efficient solution, as what may appear at first to be the problem may actually be the result of an underlying and perhaps even larger problem. This tool allows groups to understand what these underlying factors may be and to contextualize the problem so as to re-frame the problem in a more specific and direct manner.

How to use it?

The tool can be completed individually or in groups. Completing the task in groups however is preferable as the objective of the exercise is to approach the problem from different viewpoints in order to understand and define the problem better. Including stakeholders in the process is another useful idea. The worksheet should be filled out from left to right.