Framing the challenge is a descriptive way to identify the design challenge or problem that the team is working on. The outcome is collectively developed Challenge Statement that is used as the initial focus of the project.


what is it

A Challenge Framework is an initial starting point for the design team to focus their activities on. During the design thinking process the initial challenge will probably be re-framed as deeper and wider understanding of the issues.



why is it important

A clear focus is needed to direct the design team activities. The Challenge Statement summarizes this. The Challenge Framework identifies the reasoning behind the Challenge Statement.



how to do it

  1. Using the 5W technique to brainstorm for the team to collectively help to compose the challenge statement
  2. WHO – identify the stakeholder at the centre of your design challenge and who is the person perceiving the problem (usually identified from the Stakeholder Map – most often the User). Make sure everyone on the team agrees and is clear about who this group or person is
  3. WHAT – draft a description of the key challenge that the stakeholder faces. Be short and concise. Frame this challenge from the perspective of the stakeholder at the center of the design challenge
  4. WHERE – write down where in the experience journey the stakeholder suffers this challenge
  5. WHEN – write down when in the experience journey the stakeholder suffers this challenge
  6. WHY – capture why it matters for the stakeholder – how does solving it benefit them and the organisation?
  7. List the most important attributes of the proposed innovation from the perspective of the key stakeholder / user
  8. Bring all of the above pieces together within a Challenge Statement that consists of one or two sentences
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