17 Mar 2017 |
Research article |
Entrepreneurship & Management
How to Define a Problem or a Business Opportunity Statement
Usually, few people are concerned with formulating an accurate problem or business opportunity statement because they think they understand it. So why waste time on this? In fact, an ill-defined problem or business opportunity can bring you and your team to find an excellent solution to the wrong problem, or opportunity, and then having to start over. It is also common for team members to work on finding a solution to a problem or an opportunity that is not the same for all: members of the creative team may come up with a different understanding of the problem or business opportunity statement if it is not clear, accurate, and well-defined. Consequently, by wanting to save some time, you could end up wasting twice as much of it. Even worse, the project could end up being a complete failure!
In this article, you will find a creative tool to help you present the problem or business opportunity.
We designed a short creativity tool named “Mini Problem / Business Opportunity Statement” by simplifying some characteristics of the creativity tool known as the “Problem Statement”. This shortened creativity tool will help you present the problem or the business opportunity in a clear and accurate way, even if you have little time to spend on your creative session. This is a mini creativity tool designed for innovators who have little time. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn!
Markers, paper, and board.
How to Use this Mini Problem / Business Opportunity Statement?
1. Analysis of the Problem or the Business Opportunity
This short creativity tool will allow you to better define the problem to solve or the business opportunity to seize. Begin by analyzing the context of the problem or business opportunity by considering the following points:
- The data you have on the problem or opportunity, and the data you do not have;
- The set of circumstances causing the problem;
- For the business opportunity: the current situation without this opportunity, and the future situation when it is marketed – identifying what change this business opportunity will bring;
- The environment relevant to the problem or the business opportunity: places, suppliers, customers, climate conditions, etc.;
- The key players and stakeholders involved;
- The components of the business opportunity or problem if they can be broken down;
- Any other relevant factor to help define the problem or opportunity.
2. Clear, Precise, and Well-Defined Statement
Your problem or business opportunity statement must be SIMPLE, EASY to UNDERSTAND, and CLEAR to ALL those who will read it. After performing the analysis described above, you are now able to write drafts to define the problem or business opportunity. Work on your statement until you feel that it is clear and accurate. Show it to several people and ask them what they understand. If their understanding of the statement is the same as yours, then your problem or business opportunity statement is clear and accurate. But take care! Make sure the business opportunity or problem statement is the right one!
If, however, the people who read your problem or business opportunity statement do not ALL have the same understanding you have, you must continue to work on your statement.
3. Other Things to Consider (Optional) to Clearly Define the Problem or Business Opportunity
After completing steps one and two above, you might consider the following to further define the problem or the business opportunity:
- Which weakness, difficulty, or other negative elements will you minimize or eliminate?
- Will your resulting solution or opportunity bring positive outcomes? If yes, which ones?
- Is this problem or business opportunity too big to consider as a whole in one creative session?
- Is this problem a set of problems that you can analyze in parts? Can the business opportunity be separated into different opportunity segments?
- Should only part of the problem or business opportunity be addressed, given the time allocated to the creative session? If yes, which one?
- Conversely, is the problem or business opportunity too small to address? Are there other elements that should be added to your analysis of the problem or business opportunity?
Consider the answers you have for these points to better simplify, clarify, and define the problem or business opportunity statement that has been developed. Do not forget to show your statement to several people to ensure that their understanding precisely corresponds to the message you want to convey!
Other creativity tools
We chose nine creativity tools and simplified them in order to be learned in less than 5 minutes. They were tested with 2,000 participants for successfully for two years. We recommend using at least three during your ideation sessions (one for the three ideation stages below): they might allow you to generate more and better ideas.
To define the problem or need
We made the following mini creativity tools:
To generate ideas
To choose an idea to solve a problem or meet the needs