Project Description

An engineering consultancy had over 50 years of data in offices across Australia. When they saw opportunities, they had to scramble to try to find this data to win the work. This sometimes took time and effort to complete. Often, by the time the data was ready to submit, the opportunity had expired.


After many attempts at trying to solve this problem, they decided to look outside the organisation for a solution. We chose to take this problem on with a service design approach. By looking inside the organisation, we identified that there needed to be agreement from all stakeholders. So we organised a 2 day workshop in Sydney which all 16 stakeholders from around Australia needed to commit to.

A shared understanding

One of the more serious aspects of this problem was that because the solution had been attempted by many stakeholders, each had their own understanding of what the right solution should be. Hence, one of the intents of the workshop was to get a shared understanding of what the problem was between all stakeholders.

In these workshops, we use play and collaboration activities to identify and share various definitions of success. This enabled individual expression in a safe environment without frictions. At the end of day 1, the primary goal was to have a shared understanding and agree on a single Problem Statement.

Defining the problem

To start with, we focussed on understanding the problem in one “How Might We…” statement.



How might we: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What the problem is
For: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Who the problem affects
So that: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Why the solution is important

Sometimes a variety of problem statements arise through this exercise. For example:

How might we collect data for our team so that we can share it quickly and easily?

How might we share data for our sales team so that they can share it with our clients quickly and in an engaging way?

How might we make our presentations engaging for our audience so that our data is meaningful and valuable?

Once we define the primary problem, we then understand more about the people who benefit from the solution. Often, the problem statements may need some re-focussing afterwards.
The problem statement now reads:

How might we unlock access to our data for our team so that they are able to access information for bids and tenders quickly and easily. By reducing the unbillable time spent on these activities, this creates a compelling pitch that delivers competitive advantage”

Vision statement

On day 2 of the workshop, once the problem statement was agreed upon, and the primary users were identified (clients and staff). It was time to come up with a statement that aimed to solve the problem for those people.

We used a tool developed by Roman Pichler called the Product Vision Board. The Product Vision Board helps you describe, visualise, and validate your product vision and your product strategy.

“Our vision is to enable our clients’ ambitions by bringing data to life.
We will empower our people to engage with clients and each other in new ways, unlocking the full potential of data to drive smarter decisions, faster.”

Product in a Box

The real fun was to try to envisage some of these solutions in group exercises. The “Design-the-Box” activity is a good activity to focus on these outcomes. This creative activity allows people to give the solution or product a name, a description of how it might solve the problem and features of how it works.

By imagining the package for their idea, the teams make decisions about the name, features and who the solution is for.  This makes the Product Vision exercise easier to articulate.

At the end of the exercise, the teams will present their box to the other teams in a playful conclusion. It’s not only fun for participants but the results of the exercise may live on well after as a friendly reminder of the big picture.