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LeanUX: Problem Framing Using the 4 Ws


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Published in: Design, Technology, Business

LeanUX: Problem Framing Using the 4 Ws

  1. 1. WILL EVANS Design Thinker-in-Residence NYU Stern School of Management @semanticwill
  3. 3. Learning organizations [are] organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. (Senge 1990)
  4. 4. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS •  To become a true learning organization you need to continuously improve. •  No Problem is a Problem •  Kaizen (continuous improvement) is hard work •  A3 & PDSA •  Sometimes A3 to too heavy
  5. 5. OBSTRACLES TO LEARNING ORGANIZATION •  Silo thinking (and silos in general) •  No time for reflection (the S in PDSA) •  Problem denial (Mystery and Mastery) •  Leadership doesn’t value learning •  No systematic framework for learning •  No ability to frame problems well
  6. 6. A problem well stated is mostly solved. The problem is stating a problem well is really hard.
  8. 8. 4 W Problem Canvas
  9. 9. §  Who §  What §  Why §  Where 4W EXPLORATION
  10. 10. WHO •  Who has this problem? •  Is it your customer*? •  Have you validated that the problem is real? •  Can you prove it? * Customer is only & always defined as the people that give you money for your product services.
  11. 11. WHAT •  What is the nature of the problem? •  Can you explain it simply? •  How do you know it’s a problem? •  What is the evidence to support the problem?
  12. 12. •  Where does this problem arise? •  In which context does the customer experience the problem? •  Have you observed the problem in context? •  Can you describe that context? WHERE
  13. 13. •  Why do you believe it is a problem worth solving? •  Is it an acute problem for the customer? •  How acute? WHY
  15. 15. By yourself - write out on post-its at least 2;Try to keep it to under 8 words; don’t discuss with anyone. •  Who •  What •  Why •  Where * This exercise assumes at least 3 teams of 3 people. 4W Exploration* – 10 min
  16. 16. As a team, present all post-its onto a blank sheet of large paper divided into 4 quadrants. Discuss all 4 Ws people presented; take note of duplicates. •  Which 2 are most revealing •  Which 2 are most relevant to your customer on your empathy map? Use dot-voting Synthesis– 20 minutes
  17. 17. Now, after reviewing the 4W Canvas with your team, please write a one paragraph problem statement by yourself. Make sure to be explicit about the Who, What, Why, Where. Again, don’t talk with your team; write in your own voice. Problem Statement Writing – 10 minutes
  18. 18. Each team member present their problem statement. Dot vote on the 1 strongest problem statement (or combine them, but don’t exceed 1 paragraph). Team must present a single problem statement to the entire group. Synthesis – 10 minutes
  19. 19. Every team select one person. Stand Up and read problem statement. Place on flip chart at front of the room. PRESENT
  20. 20. In your head, but not out loud, Is the solution to this problem clear to you?* (Don’t share your solution idea with anyone) *If not, then return to the problem and refine until the solution emerges in the negative space. – Jabe Bloom Now….
  21. 21. THE LEANUX KATA •  Who is the customer? •  What is their problem? •  What do you know and how do you know it? •  What are your assumptions? How will you test them? •  What have you learned and what should you learn next? •  What is your very next experiment? •  How will you measure it?
  22. 22. WILL EVANS Design Thinker-in-Residence NYU Stern School of Management @semanticwill