Problem framing


The purpose of the problem framing activity is to help you focus on and define the problem you want to concentrate on during your service design journey.

Also known as

The tool

Problem framing enables you to articulate the specific problem you want to address and the problem statement template provides you with a template that structures discussion to help you to do this.

Why use it

When to use it

  • Problem framing is used after you have carried out your user research, as you move into the define phase of the first service design diamond.

How to use it

Once you collate your findings, more often than not, the challenge you started with will evolve and before you start to ideate you must articulate what the problem you are trying to solve/improve is. You must make sure you are designing the right thing (user research and problem definition) before designing the thing right (ideation, prototyping and testing).


Allow about 30 minutes for the activity, dividing this time into:

  • Introduction and outlining the goals of the activity. Make it clear that this activity is about defining the problem and setting the scope for development activities. At this stage, you are not trying to solve the problem so much as making very clear what exactly the problem you are going to solve is.
  • Brainstorming to fill in the template.
  • Gaining consensus (you may wish to use affinity mapping here).


You can use problem framing either remotely or face-to-face.

A problem solving template is available.



Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information