About Problem Framing
Want to help your key stakeholders make better decisions, fast?

Problem Framing is a design thinking method used to understand, define and prioritize complex business problems. No matter what strategy you plan on building, or what your outcomes are, it will help you and your team make better decisions, faster.

Problem Framing is a 1-day to 1.5-day strategy workshop where a team of key-stakeholders goes through a structured decision-making process that follows three core principles:

– Everyone has an equal voice.
– Everyone shifts perspectives.
– Alignment happens as a result of shared understanding.


Why Problem Framing?

We designed the Problem Framing framework as a response to being in traditional Design Sprints where the problem wasn’t clearly defined or even existed; the challenges were too broad or too narrow to be worth the investment or the sprint team was missing the expertise to solve the problem. We learned that defining the scope of a sprint poorly or skipping the success criteria altogether leads the sprint team towards making the wrong decisions, solve a problem not worth solving, and ultimately drives poor results.

To avoid these negative outcomes, we put problem-framing at the heart of our Design Sprint 3.0 process, and it’s also why we launched this method at Google -San Francisco and trained their internal Design Sprint Academy in 2018.


Who joins the Problem Framing?

Problem Framing is a 1-1,5-day workshop that involves a team of seven-eight decision-makers, typically executive level. They must have a direct interest in the sprint challenge and also, the power to kill or move the project forward.


Problem Framing Topics

Problem Framing is about a shared understanding, team alignment, and defining a strategy for the future, so the stakeholders need to pay equal attention to both the business need as well as to the customer’s problem.

1. Contextualize the problem

By using different frames, stakeholders review their understanding of the problem as well as the business context, state their assumptions, and align around a point of view.

2. Justify the business need

Stakeholders link the design sprint challenge to overarching business goals/metrics and align on the core strategy to follow.

3. Understand the customer

Stakeholders empathize with the user/customer by interacting with research insights and mapping the customer journey.

4. Find the opportunity and commit

Once stakeholders can connect the customer’s problems to the business goals/strategy and the entire business context of the product/service/organization, they decide on the core opportunity to pursue.

Problem Framing Results

🎯 Alignment on the Problem Statement

By looking at the entire context of the business/product/ service strategy and linking it to overarching business goals/metrics and actual customer problems, decision-makers are able to define a clear problem statement for the sprint.

🎯 The Right Sprint Team

Once the problem has been defined, the list of experts competent and resourceful enough to solve it becomes clear.

🎯 Stakeholder buy-in

Since the challenge is connected to business objectives the stakeholders are directly accountable for, their support to run the Sprint is assured and, more, they will be interested in seeing the results implemented post-sprint.


⚡️ Having trained the likes of SAP, Roche, RGAx to nail their strategy workshops, we’re teaching coaches, consultants, designers, and product teams long-lasting skills through interactive live online courses.

Getting started…

We designed a short alignment workshop that needs to be conducted together with a team of key decision-makers in order to answer two critical questions:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • What is a problem worth solving?


Get the Free Workshop Template


Not sure how your organization can benefit from Problem Framing?

Let’s talk.