Define Your Problem


  • No class next week

Design Notebooks

Let’s go around the room and review your Design Notebooks from last week.

Defining Your Problem

Let’s review the lean canvas


  • Make a copy the this Goggle Draw Lean Project Canvas template ( print out a copy if you’d prefer working on paper )
  • Take a few minutes to state your project concepts from last week’s assignment as problems
  • Fill in the 3 top problems in the Problem section of your canvas

Group Exercise

  • Break up into groups and take turns having your group mates rank order your top problems based on how important they are to them
  • Take time to discuss why group members ordered your problems the way they did.
  • Re-order your top problems according to the group’s feedback

Getting to the Root Cause of a Problem

Group Exercise

  • Group up again
  • Using the 5 Whys, analyze each group member’s top problem to try to get to the root cause of the problem.
  • Make a note of the root cause – save a new version of your canvas, substituting this root cause as your top problem.

Existing Alternatives

If you’re already aware of any existing alternatives that address your top problem, list them under Existing Alternatives. Do a few Google searches against your revised top problem to see what other alternatives might exist. Take notes and save links for reference later.


Project Canvas

  • Re-visit the exercises above with a different group of friends. Have them rank your problems, then go through the 5 whys with each problem again with this new group. Update your project canvas with the revised problem list.
  • Continue researching existing alternatives. Try to determine the “state-of-the-art” for your top problem. Do these solutions address the root cause of the problem? How are they different from your project concept? Update your canvas with this list of existing alternatives.

Design Notebook

  • Create a new slide in your Design Notebook and title it “Problem Definition”
  • List your top 1 to 3 problems, listed in the order of importance based on your sorting exercise.
  • For your top problem, list links to at least 3 existing solutions along with a a description of how each is different from your concept different.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Product Management

While many of you will go on to become designers, programers or animators, others of you may find compelling opportunities as interactive product managers.

In any case, it’s important to have a basic familiarity with the role of product manager (aka producer), since you’ll likely work closely with PMs in whatever position you take after IMM.

Toward that end, over the off week (w/o Sept 6th), please read the Introduction and Basic Principles sections in A hitchhiker’s guide to product management. Be sure to scan the “Readings” subsection in Basic Principles, sampling the material to taste. Come prepared to discuss the reading next session.

Submitting Your Work

This week’s homework assignment is due before class next week. When you’ve completed it, post a comment on this page, including a link to your Design Notebook and Project Canvas. Come to class next week prepared to present your work.

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