Framing your design challenge/problem statement will get you off on the right foot. It is more art than science but there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, ask yourself: Does my challenge drive toward ultimate impact, allow for a variety of solutions, and take into account the User context? It is rare that you will frame your challenge in one go, you will go through several revisions and a lot of debate, before you accurately state the problem you are looking to solve.
Define your ultimate USER. Identify the Problem/Challenge of the User, you wish to solve.
Start with the users’ hopes, fears and needs you can uncover. User and User Problem described as Who, What, Why and Where.
State the IMPACT/OUTCOME you want to deliver to the User.
State the larger impact, that you are aiming for through your solution.
List possible SOLUTIONS to the problem.
It is fine to start the project with a hunch or two, but make sure you allow for surprising outcomes.
State the context and CONSTRAINTS you are facing.
List down the constraints and problems which you have to overcome and the difficulty that you foresee in implementation.
Now FRAME your design challenge as a How Might We (HMW) Statement.
Take a stab at writing your design challenge, the problem statement. It will get refined as move into the process.
Properly framed design challenges drive ultimate impact, it allows for a variety of solutions, and take into account constraints and context.
Your design challenge should not be either too narrow or too broad. A narrowly scoped challenge will not offer enough room to explore creative solutions. And a broadly scoped challenge will not give you any idea where to start.
Once you have run your challenge through these filters, do it again. It may seem repetitive, but the right question is key to arriving at a good solution.
A quick test to getting your design challenge right is to see if you can come up with five possible solutions in just a few minutes. If so, you are likely on the right track.