EXPLORING COMPLEX PROBLEMS 

Tools for defining and researching stakeholder needs 

“A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved.” conventional wisdom attributed to or repeated by at least John Dewey and Charles Kettering

In this course, you will learn how to describe the problem as it is currently understood. You’ll explore how to do the homework around the problem space in a human-centred way to better understand context and develop launch points for solution generation. 

About the course

Defining your problem isn’t the end of your research. It’s the beginning. Metaphorically, you’ve put a few stakes in the ground to identify where you plan to excavate. Now it’s time to start digging. Your next step is to identify and test the assumptions you have made around the problem space.

Great design is always based on research. Research is how we ground our solutions in the real needs of stakeholders, minimize misleading assumptions, and avoid over-simplifying and over-complicating things.

In this course, you’ll dive deep into the Define and Research phases of the human-centred design cycle, learning how staying in the problem space and iterating between these two phases can produce a strong foundation for ideation. 

Modules

A deep dive into problem definition and research

Learn about the importance of problem framing and ways for testing your assumptions. Uncover some of the fundamental principles of doing research in a human-centred way.

Define and research in action

A hands-on session where you will try tools, techniques, and a repeatable process that will help you create new value for customers when exploring complex problems. Some of the tools and processes include getting to the root of the problem with Five Whys, mapping people impacted by your work with Stakeholder Analysis, and synthesizing your research through the use of Personas.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to more confidently jump into the Define or Research stages of the design cycle with deeper knowledge of foundational strategies as well as concrete tools for success.  

What you will learn:

  • The power of defining your problem: explore strategies and tips for testing your assumptions about the problem early on
  • Processes to ensure your research is human-centred: explore specific tools and mindsets that always bring us back to the humans who are impacted by the solution
  • Tools to help you explore your problem frame and for engaging your stakeholders along the way: practical tools and processes that you can start using right away to make an impact
  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Overlap’s approach help take the fear outta learning while you insert fun. I have had this sick feeling every time I had to engage with technology–but your attitude and approach take away the scariness.”

    Intro to HCD Participant

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Overlap was able to explain concepts and engage people effectively and emotionally in the learning process. From concept thinking to design, they brought an element of a new Human feelings approach that gave me a new perspective of incorporating an end-user approach to a problem versus a global approach.”

    H. B. Com, CPA, CGA, Director of Finance and Administration, KW Habilitation

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Taking (Intro to HCD) rejuvenated my enthusiasm for work at a time when I was starting to feel disconnected. Not only was it refreshing to work through Launch activities with an interdisciplinary group, it gave me ideas for engaging my own team differently. I immediately applied what I learned with noted success!”

    Educational Developer | Curriculum Development and Program Improvement Centre for Teaching & Learning | Queen’s University

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “...Overlap training introduced me to a process and a wealth of tools that will take our planning to the next level. Moving to virtual training did not dampen Ryan and Nicole's enthusiasm, and their insights helped me understand how to apply these tools in my own organization. I cannot wait for my next planning session!”

    Head of Public Services Law Library, Dalhousie University

Upcoming Courses

Exploring Complex Problems 

Creative Problem Solving: 201

(Live Online Cohort)

October 12 & 14, 2021

9am-12pm EST

Sign Up

Exploring Complex Problems

Creative Problem Solving: 201

(Live Online Cohort)

November 23 & 25, 2021

1pm-4pm EST

Sign Up

Exploring Complex Problems

Creative Problem Solving: 201

(Live Online Cohort)

January 18 & 20, 2022

9am-12pm EST

Sign Up

Planning to take all three of our Level 200 courses?  You can save over 15% by registering for all 3 courses at the same time with our new Intermediate Problem Solving Certificate!

Intermediate Certificate: Sign Up