In Design-Based Innovation the upfront focus on the problem is extremely important. An estimated 90% of the time the pursuit of a solution is not directed at the true issue.
In business we are so quick to start thinking “solution” and to take actions that implement the way forward to solving the stated issue. From a Design-Based Innovation approach the initial activity should always be to execute a divergent/convergent thinking process around the first statement of the problem. The solution focus is still way down the road.
A diverse group, working together to hear each other’s comments when possible, should expand the problem statement in as many ways imaginable. Once the first view of the issue has many restatements and many varied associations, it is then time to look for patterns and converge the list to one or two high impact root causes. This revised view of the original problem statement would be the true issue to engage.
The team will then have the ability to create insights and eventually opportunities that may lead to a solution of the true problem.