Problem discovery, a key aspect of product building, requires a combination of skills – the ability to immerse fully in the worlds of different players in the space, building synthesis around multiple points of view, identifying if it’s something we could solve profitably, and defining the contours for potential solutions.

This seems trite when you read about it, but a key skill, difficult to do well.

The more I consult, the more I realize that the value of this process is immense – it helps bring clarity on how we could approach the solution, and helps avoid pitfalls in implementation. In many cases in my consulting work, it’s also helped clients see that the solution they’re planning would not work in the real world.

The tools for this are fairly basic – a notepad or whiteboard, a curious mind and time for discussions.

Often, it helps to be the only ignoramus in the room, as it insulates from bias. I’d love to hear how you do your problem discovery. If you’re a firm grappling with launching a new product/drive a process or work through strategy, I’d love to discuss further over a cup of coffee.