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Problem Statement Canvas

problem statement canvas
The Problem Statement Canvas was developed by Marius Ursache as part of his work with DEtoolbox.com. Reference Mr. Ursache article listed below for detailed information about this tool.

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The beginning of a great startup is having a very well defined and understood problem you are attempting to solve. The Problem Canvas takes a psychological approach to “deconstruct” a problem worth solving, it is a great tool that allows you to look at the problem from several different angles. The key to leveraging this tool is understanding it is a work in progress and will change as you get more information from potential customers. Keep in mind that some of the greatest startups started with a problem they thought was interesting only to pivot to something they found that was more important to the customer. Keep your ears open to other problems highlighted by the customer during your discussions.

To start the process fill in each section using your current knowledge of the problem and your current set of assumptions. As you gain knowledge in the next section, Validate It, you will need to revisit your assumptions about the problem and make sure they are still valid.

You can use post-it notes in an initial pass which helps to remove technology and the need for formatting which allows you to be more creative and focused on what matters. Grab an empty wall or whiteboard and get to work. A great digital tool to use to document your knowledge and assumptions about the problem is Trello, you can create the Problem Canvas as a board on Trello.

Problem Statement Canvas is a way of formulating and presenting the problem and helping you understand the opportunity by leaving out your solution bias. -- Marius Ursache, Problem Statement Canvas Creator

 

Pros:

  • Forces you to take the time to deeply understand the problem you are attempting to solve.
  • It will help you craft a more appealing problem statement.
  • It will reveal how important the problem really is to your potential customer.

Cons:

  • It can be full of assumptions that are not real to most people, they are only real to you.
  • It can be a little confusing on how to integrate this knowledge into other tools you might use like Lean Canvas and Business Model Canvas.
  • There are not a lot of examples given in blogs, articles or videos about specific examples of how it is used.