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What is problem discovery? Why is it important to me?

Before you commit to building a digital product, you need to identify and understand existing problems. With this new knowledge, you can build better products that suit the needs of your users.

How can I discover new problems to solve?

We recommend that you consider these few factors:

  • Who are my potential users? What do they want to achieve?

  • Are there any existing operations or technical constraints? (e.g. existing processes, systems, legacy technology)

  • Are there any opportunities for me to create improvements?

  • Would my solution be helpful?

How can I collect important information during my problem discovery?

  1. Develop a strong hypothesis

    Coming up with a strong hypothesis and fundamental research questions help in your problem identification. If you notice the public and key stakeholders are interested in the answers in your research questions, it is a good indicator that your identified problem is urgent and relevant.

  2. Conduct good User Research

    Create a service that fits your user’s needs with user research. It enables your team to understand your users better - their lifestyles, habits, experience with existing services and etc. A better understanding of your users helps you to make good product decisions.

Ultimately, information gathered during your problem discovery phase will move you forward to product conceptualisation.

How much time should I spend on my problem discovery process?

Although there is no set time period, teams usually spend 8 -12 weeks. Instead of setting up a fixed time frame, you should let the purpose and process guide you.

How do I decide whether I should proceed to product conceptualisation after problem discovery?

Unfortunately, you should not proceed if:

  • There is no compelling problem, opportunity or user need

  • There is no compelling argument for the Government to provide the digital product or service

  • User needs are already being well met by existing solutions

  • Tech or policy constraints mean solution cannot be delivered anytime soon

  • Partner stakeholders are not ready for user-centred practices

What should I prepare for product conceptualisation?

Congratulations to you for reaching this stage! To prepare your team for this stage, you must:

  1. Familiarise yourself with other teams and organisations that are working to address similar and related problems

  2. Write a list of possible concepts to test during product conceptualisation. Prioritise the first idea you want to make a prototype out of, and provide a strong rationale.

  3. Understand the reason for using technology as a solution. Many problems do not actually require technological solutions, and many technological solutions need support from non-technological solutions (e.g. non-optimal business processes). Make sure that all your stakeholders understand this.

As your project progresses, KPIs are set and funding is invested in your solution. Thus, it is important that you exercise due diligence so your project will be worthwhile.