Understanding the theory behind Problem Reframing really helps to clarify the best approach and how this phase evolves.
Are You Solving the Right Problems? - Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
There is a lot of commentary around Problem Reframing, but the best piece I've come across is found on Harvard Business Review, providing excellent examples and pointers as part of the approach, it is a very concise but thorough explanation - I encourage you to read it here, and I have also summarised the advised steps and process below.
What's the TL;DR?
People are bad at properly diagnosing problems, even when using frameworks that help understand the problem people will just simply go deeper in to this specific problem instead of refocusing and coming up with a different diagnosis.
Ultimately, it's not about discounting the original problem, or even invalidating it, but looking for a more interesting problem - a more valuable problem.
- Establish legitimacy - Help everyone to understand the method before using it. This will enable a much better discussion, keeping everyone aligned and resulting in a better outcome.
- Bring outsiders into the discussion - Encourages diverse perspectives and moves people away from falling in love with a solution, and falling in love with the problem instead.
- Get people’s definitions in writing - By getting everyone to agree on a single problem statement, it prevents ambiguity around exactly what is being solved.
- Ask what’s missing - Instead of focusing on what's included, take the time to understand and investigate what could be missing from the statement.
- Consider multiple categories - Get participants to state what category of problem it is (incentive, expectations, attitude etc) and also suggest others for consensus - this is also a good example of where a diverse group helps with understanding the problem.
- Analyse positive exceptions - Are there instances where the problem did not occur? These positive exceptions can also help uncover factors of the problem that had not been considered.
- Question the objective - Uncovering the objectives that are causing the problem (scenario or user) by clarifying and then challenging them can help shift the objective and therefore reframe the problem.
Using a template for the Reframing process will help with consistency of thought - allowing for prompting and practice in the art of Reframing.
Changing keywords, and observing the underlying goals whilst going through this process will help generate the Reframed Problem Statement.