New tools for lean innovation teams: Problem and Solution Zooms

Can you clearly define your customer, their problem, and your solution?

They’re the core of all products, ideas, and initiatives so understanding and communicating them is vital. This is why we’re pleased to share our Problem and Solution Zoom tools with you.

Our Customer Zoom tool that helps you identify needs, behaviors, pains, and most importantly, opportunities has been publicly available for a while now. But since we’ve been having great results using the Problem and Solution Zooms in our Lean Innovation Sprints and Accelerators throughout the past year, we decided you should Problem Zoom.

Zoom in on your customer’s problem to uncover their desired outcomes, pains, and problems

I know we CAN build it. But, SHOULD we?

It’s not uncommon to hear this question after a product has failed to gain market traction. Teams who are initially excited by their solution are left wondering why feature after feature failed to engage target users. The pattern can continue for several release cycles before the team comes to a key realization:

They don’t understand the problems their customers have.

The Problem Zoom is designed to help teams avoid these scenarios. Since you’ve already identified the unique attributes and desires of your target customer using the Customer Zoom tool and by going through empathy work, you are now ready to think deeply about your customers’ key problems.

By understanding customers’ most pressing problems, you can validate if the issue is real, solvable, and held deeply enough to be worth solving.

Instead of addressing many problems all at once, the Problem Zoom helps you identify the single- most crucial benefit your solution will provide in order to help your customer achieve the desired outcome. By the end of this exercise, you will know exactly what you need to validate as you build your solution.

The Problem Zoom tool is a three-step process that we encourage you to complete rapidly as a team:

  1. Brainstorm and select desired outcome.  What is your customer trying to accomplish?
  2. Brainstorm and select pains and problems.  What barriers does your customer face attempting to achieve the desired outcome?
  3. Identify your solution’s promise and aspirational benefit.  What are you promising to achieve for your customer, and what impact will that have on the customer?

At this point, don’t overthink it. Just get started. Repeat the process as often as necessary to narrow in on a specific benefit you hope to deliver for your target customer.

Download and see the step-by-step instructions for the Problem Zoom tool here.