Design thinking process: identify and define the problem
Before you go ahead to solve problems, there is one important step which must be completed. This step will help shape your design project from start to finish. This step is known as the "define and identify" stage. It is the second of the five stages of the design thinking process.
At this stage, a clear idea of the problem you wish to solve for the user must be established. The problem will then be shaped into a problem statement. This is your northern star for your design process.
Recall that at the empathize phase, you must have gleaned a good idea of who your users are; their needs and wants. At the define phase, you are now ready to use all the info into an actionable problem statement.
In emphasize phase, analysis is used to break down everything one must have observed and discovered about the users, separating their behavior into the what, how and why categories. In the define stage, the components are put together to synthesize our findings to form a detailed picture.
This stage helps you to fully understand the goal of your project. It also helps you to clearly articulate the design problem and provide a clear objective to achieve. When the problem statement is meaningful one will move in the right direction thereby, starting the next phase - ideation process (More details on that later) and worm your way towards a solution.
It's hard to know what you're aiming for when you don't have a well-defined problem statement. Invariably, you will lose focus, the final design will be in shambles and the stakeholders and other team members will find it very difficult to understand what you are doing.
A problem statement identifies the gap between the present state (problem) and the desired state (goal) of a product or process. When a solution is designed to bridge this gap, the user is satisfied and can have a wonderful user experience.
The following questions must be answered in the define and identify phase