Understanding the ask

Understanding the ask

The key to designing excellent solutions is simple – you need to understand what the challenge you are trying to solve actually is. How many times do we jump straight to solution mode only to realise later that our solution isn’t actually working? All too often, pressures of time, budgets and capacity make us feel that we can’t take the time to assess things properly. Design thinking tells us that in actual fact, spending time to frame the problem properly will allow us to design and arrive at far more effective and useful solutions.

Understanding the ask

What is the aim?

What is the aim?

To develop project proposal documents

This clarifies the scope of the challenge, identifies resources required to take it forward and makes recommendations on next steps for client and team.

Why are you doing it?

Why are you doing it?

Define project and get approval to proceed

This process helps to clarify the project and identify who is best placed to take the project forward. The approval board ensures resources are focussed appropriately.

Who do you need?

Who do you need?

An initial problem solving team

An initial team consisting of at least one design thinker, one data specialist and one business expert all focussed on clarifying the potential challenge at hand.

What is our process?

First slide first slide

How did we do it?

Understand the client

Initial Client Request Initial Client Request

Initial Client Request

Every project must start with an Initial Challenge Request form. A simple one page form completed by the client as a request for work or by a member of the team after initial chat with the prospective client. All forms are then submitted to the Project Approval Board.

Client Meeting

Client Meeting

At this stage it is really important to meet your client face to face to establish what they are looking for. This is about understanding their needs and what success might look like at this early stage – so let them do the talking! Our Meeting Blue Print can help structure the meeting.

Frame the project

Base Camp Session Base Camp Session

Base Camp Session

This session is about collating the information gathered from the client and setting up some initial research plans. Do you understand who is involved? Start by mapping your stakeholders. What information is available relevant to these groups? Can you access existing research, reports and strategies? Can you access data at this stage?

Project Framer Workshop

Project Framer Workshop

Use the information you have gathered to develop a clear picture on the challenge at hand and how the client and their project might proceed.
Follow the Project Framer workshop plan to collate your findings and establish your recommendations for possible next steps.

Agree the way forward

Project Proposal Project Proposal

Project Proposal

Complete the Project Proposal template using outputs generated while Framing the project.
The document will identify:
- the real challenges to be solved
- existing data sets and any gaps
- resources required to succeed
- recommended next steps

Client Meeting

Review your findings

At this point, the initial Problem Solving team submit the Project Proposal document to the Project Approval Board for review.
The board will make a decision on next steps based on the recommendations in the proposal document.

Our lightbulb moment

Focus on...framing the project

Case study in here covering the process of framing the project - city centre project?

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It’s good to talk...

It is important to understand you may not have correctly identified all of the challenges involved in the project at this stage. Regularly speak with the people involved in the challenge - clients, their clients, your team members… and sense check where you are going.

You could have missed something or made an incorrect assumption. As humans we all have ideas and beliefs based on assumption and, more often than not, we are not even aware of them. Discovering what the client’s real needs and wants are, not what you or they think they are will lead to developing clear challenge briefs and ultimately, excellent solutions.

Our lightbulb moment
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