Understand your challenge, in all its complexity. This could take the form of online research, mapping, observing the problem in action, and/or interviewing people close to the issue.
- Identify your audience: Who will use/benefit from your solution?
- Develop a list of questions that will help you better understand the problem.
- Spend as much time in the presence of the problem as you can. Record your observations.
- Figure out where you can go to get more information: reliable websites? local experts? the library?
- Make sure you’ve answered all of your questions and kept track of the answers—you may need to refer back to them later!
- Ask the folks you’ve talked to about the problem if they’d be willing to give you feedback once you have a possible solution, and make sure you know how to get in touch with them when you are ready to share your ideas
- Compare your research and observations with your classmates’ findings. Everyone will notice and learn different (and sometimes even contradictory!) things, so it’s important to share what you’ve learned and learn from others.
- Now that you better understand the problem, focus in on one aspect of the problem that you have the power to change. Re-write your guiding question to focus on that particular piece of the challenge.