Empathize helps us gain insights.
Define helps us make sense of it!

Why is it important to Define the problem?

Example of What Can Go Wrong!

In the 60s, NASA realized that normal pens do not work in space.

Problem Statement:
Ink won't flow without gravity

High tech pressurized pen that doesn't require gravity

The Russian Space Agency encountered the same problem, but had defined the problem differently...

Problem Statement:
Pen won't work in space

Use a pencil

Good Problem Statements

5 "Why" Technique

One way to try to get to a good problem statement is by pretending to be a six-year-old who keeps asking "Why?"

The technique was developed by Toyota to help make sure designers put the user first in their process, and that they actually understood the user's needs and wants.

If you cannot answer "Why", go back to to the "Empathize" stage, don't make assumptions!


Observation: Working adults are often unhealthy.

So, what now?

As a team, work on your problem statement by looking at your Empathy report, discussing the main issue and drilling down to the Why of the matter...

If you need to re-empathize, this is still a good time to get a better understanding of your user. But don't dilly dally any longer!

Fill out this handout.