Which methods do you use to identify problems?


I’d like to know how do you get in to problems to solve? Do you seek to realize everytime in your daily life and write down notes or are there any websites to find out problems in particular to create a product based on those problems?

For me, I always start with searching on web (bc it is the easiest but the most inefficient way to start with) and try to find out problems out of news and articles. Sometimes, if I have the time in my daily life, I look for the opportunity to talk with people I think that may have issues to dig out.

If you can suggest sources -books or websites- that would be great!


Observation of current solutions is best. They are everywhere. As soon as humans get into the habit of doing anything, it is “good” and don’t think of alternative ways of accomplishing the same thing. Yesterday’s solution is today’s problem. Your solution of course needs to be better than the existing one, but that is obvious.

Second, i have the luxury of being in the medical industry. A part of a clinicians continuing ongoing education is many times measuring problems in the clinical setting. They will first publish these as posters at trade shows, then sometimes as a paper in a trade journal. We tend to view the hundreds of posters at the trade shows and look for the new trend in problems. Many times they also publish there “solution” but nearly always it has never gone through the iterative process and usually is substandard.

If you are an independent designer or entrepreneur, it is good to focus first on a specific target market, one way to success is to find an unoccupied niche. Beyond problem-solution thinking, also look at the entire system that is occurring - often people are involved in too many and high complex task arrangements to reach what they want. Simple contextual observations are the best means, and later you can intervene with your own solutions and installations to see what effect your design has - we call this creating an Experiential Design Landscape.

Sometimes the best capability to identifying problems is to create one within the context of materials that are not normally used for a particular application thus being able to push further what a deign was meant to be in its form and capability rather than it’s functionality - where “problems” are often first identified

Rather than seeking out solutions to problems, what design can do is have people adopt a different self-image.

When buying a Lexus or even a VW Passat, or a specific type of watch, you are not just an ordinary worker anymore and will start to think and act differently. It is probably that people owning products made of recycled material will want to start to recycle more ardently. The recreational runner who now has tailored shoes with 3D printed in- and outsoles will now seriously push further.

How can designers motivate or persuade people towards this type of inner transformations? Is it only design language or the entire environment we create and how we interact with it. Do we want to simply make people aware of things, do we want to condition them and make them blind to certain designerly intentions, monitor and provide feedback, how much do we want to personalize? This asks for a lot of experimentation and progressive focus before reaching a radical innovation. Of course still, simple observations of people interacting with products and each other are most meaningful.

It depends on the type of problem and the sphere in which the problem arises.

I depend on constant examination or scrutiny to identify problems. No matter the sphere, on can always use the SWOT method. This has always enabled me to identify problems I wouldn’t otherwise have.

I also depend a great deal on instinct or intuition, but this is difficult to write about. But they have worked very often for me.