This technique restates the problem questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? to define the problem.

The usage of this technique is very broad. Use the 5W1H technique to generate problem definitions. When considering the problem, stay focused and challenge your assumptions. Always ask: Is this the essential problem? Is this the core of what we want to solve?

Executing the Method

  • Restate Problem

    State the problem in the form of: ‘In what ways might…?” For example, the problem might be the rising level of pollution in urban areas. Restating this problem would result in: “In what ways might we reduce urban pollution?”.

  • List 5W1H

    Under this statement, write down the Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? questions.

  • Apply the Questions to the Problem

    These questions consider the problem, so for example: Who has the problem? Where is the problem? And so forth.

  • Leave Space

    Leave a little room under each of these questions, so you can put post-its under it.

  • Write down Responses

    Write your response to these questions on post-its, and put these under each question.

  • Keep Going

    Continue until you can’t come up with new responses.

  • Combine Responses

    Combine the responses for each question to generate new problem definitions.