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The Problem Disc

Time 45 min
Participants Group (max 4 people)

The problem disc

It is essential for any project to form an accurate problem statement from the outset in order to achieve a successful outcome. Set aside time and resources to create a mutual understanding of the underlying consequences, issues and problem areas that shape the project. This method challenges the project team’s different understandings, so you can reach a mutual agreement.


  1. What do we know about the area – and what do we think the problem is? Discuss as a group and take notes on post-its. At the end of a discussion, a core problem is placed in the middle of the circle. Consider making a “station” for each problem, particularly if you’re working with a larger group, so you can move from station to station and discuss each problem separately. For example: “Too many commuters drive their own car to and from work each day.”
  2. What do we believe is the cause of the problem – and what do we not know at this point/what will require further research? The participants take notes on post-its and place them in the circle. For example: “Alternative modes of transportation do not meet the commuters’ needs to travel door to door.”
  3. What is the consequence of the problem – from the user’s perspective and a system perspective, respectively? For example: “Commuters waste time in traffic jams.” And from a systemic perspective: “The air quality deteriorates”. Write down themes, agreements, challenges and decisions during the process. Insert a new core problem if needed.


  • Double A3 poster [download and print below]
  • Felt-tip pens
  • Post-its

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CVR 3699 4126

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