Once you’ve identified problems or challenges, you can shape them into opportunities. We highly recommend that you write out complete problem statements to help facilitate converting the problem into an area of opportunity.
Problem statements help you to clearly express the challenge, who is facing the challenge, and why it needs to be solved. Your problem statements should explicitly answer the following questions:
- What is the problem or need?
- Who has the problem or need?
- Why is it important to solve?
Use the following sentence frames to create your problem statements:
- Who need(s) a way to what because why.
- ___________ need(s) a way to _________ because ____________.
Take a minute to read through the two examples below to better understand what a problem statement looks like.
Example 1. The United States needs better ways of recruiting and retaining women in STEM fields because women represent just 20% of STEM professionals, which hurts the United States’ innovative capacity and global competitiveness.
Example 2. PetSmart needs an efficient way of managing pet hair grooming waste because this expense costs the company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
Even if you already have an idea for a problem, we recommend that you write out a problem statement. Use our Problem Statement Formation worksheet to help you through this process. Once you’ve created statements for each problem, identify your top problem statements.