Exploring the problem space: A guide to building the right solution

Ideas and tools for how to spend time and energy properly exploring a problem prior to committing to the solution ahead

Our businesses are all under a compounding pressure to adapt to a market that knows more, wants more, and had more choice.

Technology has changed the traditional cost and time profile for everything we do. Competition is around every corner and it feels like “digital” means “we’re all competing with everyone, on every product, all the time”.

The lines are blurring. Banks have become mobile operators, mobile operators have become insurers, insurers have become banks. It’s possible, and inexpensive, to launch new brands, offer new services, and engage with customers around the world. Exciting, but daunting. This pressure can quickly turn to hype, or failure.

To cope, we need to mix some of our old tricks with some new tools and new thinking. We need to leverage tech with ambition, and act with discipline as we plan our technology changes.

This publication shares ideas and tools for how to spend time and energy properly exploring a problem prior to committing to the solution ahead. We describe why and how to completely map out needs from every dimension in a way that results in better long-term IT investments while embracing iterative development.

What’s in the publication

Business models

Every business makes and spends money differently.

Understanding the fundamental model upon which the business operates is imperative to form a basis for exploring how digital channels and products or services can be leveraged.

Mapping towards a vision

Any new endeavour should work towards a vision, whether it involves a digital product or not. 

A wicked problem is one where there are a plethora of ways to work towards the vision with multiple parties, people, systems, processes, and interactions that may impact or be impacted by the solution.

Understanding existing processes using event storming

Event storming is a technique that is used to cross the boundaries between multiple departments within an organisation and bring people from various disciplines together to define and map out the things they do that add value to their customer.

Know your user

First-hand perspectives beat second-hand guesses. 

In an increasingly competitive market, technology is less and less a differentiator, and experience becomes paramount, so it is crucial to understand your users. Once that understanding is in place through robust research, you need to use your insights to develop empathy that guides your team and product decisions.

Scaling omnichannel design the right way

Not too long ago customers were only able to engage with a business in a few ways – In store, telephonically or through a limited web experience. 

How do companies maintain consistency in experience throughout all these systems, taking advantage of omnichannel design but still driving convergence, towards consistent messaging and experiences?

Defining your data strategy

Data is arguably the most valuable digital resource that your business has. 

With the world becoming increasingly aware of data privacy and security, having strategies defined to protect data is becoming increasingly important. Protecting data isn’t your only concern, you also need to use your data for insights to help drive decision making.

What are we actually building

It’s important to zoom in a bit, and consider the technical building blocks and possible architectures. 

This involves breaking a system down into parts and determining how those parts will communicate. It involves identifying user facing components vs background processes.

Preparing for long-term success

Designing new products or solving a business challenge can be really, really fun. It’s incredibly tempting to dive straight into the implementation of solutions once we’ve figured out how to solve our problem.

We’re going to look at how to take the first steps towards a well-oiled SDLC, how to test our ideas quickly and gain feedback, and how to prepare to measure our progress. We’ll also break the cardinal rule; we’ll talk about Fight Club.

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