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Get it right from the start: The power of framing the problem for designers

Learn how defining the problem is half the battle for designers seeking to satisfy user needs.

One of the foremost steps in design thinking is defining the problem statement because as Charles Kettering, Head of Research, at General Motors, said,

 A problem well defined is a problem half solved.”

As a designer, your ultimate goal is to satisfy the user's needs. But in order to do that, you need to clearly define what those needs are. That's where a user need statement comes in - it's the problem statement that summarizes what the user's unmet needs are.

But here's the thing - defining the problem is half the battle. If you can clearly frame the problem, then you can more easily find the right solution. And lucky for you, Chat GPT now offers ready-made solutions that can help you along the way.

What you seek is what you get.


  1. Avoid proposing solutions- A problem statement should not be suggesting solutions but lead to an understanding of the fundamental problem.

  2. Frame questions, not statements- Questions help in brainstorming and gathering ideas and lead to new insights. Instead of saying- our sales plummeted for this month, reframe it as- How can we improve sales for next month?

  3. Ask whys- Using the 5 Whys technique helps in deep diving into the problem and uncovering its root cause of it.

  4. Define scope- The problem statement should neither be too broad nor too specific. Too broad can lead the members to chase too many paths leading to chaos, too specific can leave no room for exploration and creativity.

  5. Make it understandable- It should be stated in simple language such that every member can resonate with it, recall it and have the same understanding level. It should be devoid of jargon and multiple meanings.

The process of defining the problem helps in collecting multiple perspectives and lets the expectations and efforts of the team members be aligned.

It also helps in filtering out irrelevant ideas and retaining only the ones that meet the need.

After all, the right answer to the wrong question is a bugger to all. So take the time to frame the problem properly and get the right solution quickly with Chat GPT's ready-made solutions.

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