Once we gather just enough information about a problem, we are ready to test it. This means sharing it with relevant experts who are able to provide feedback on our findings and assumptions and help us assess whether a problem is worth further investigating. If it is, we try to understand how to better define it and what aspects to prioritise.
To facilitate this process, we create a stimulus or a proposal, which we then use in the interviews with experts. This stimulus can take many forms – it can range from a simple and succinct 1-page document to a visually engaging map of the problem area. No matter the format of the stimulus, it should reflect the following:
- The context and factors influencing the problem
- Barriers to overcome
- Pathways from the current state to a result in the future (the result can be well or very loosely defined)
- Potential/emerging solutions
We either share this stimulus with experts by email or we print it out and discuss it with them face-to-face. This gives them an opportunity to engage with the material, draw on it, and reflect on relationships between the different elements presented.
Creating and sharing a stimulus with experts helps us:
- Assess whether the identified problem(s) are worth prioritising and trying to solve;
- Correct any mistakes or misunderstandings;
- Identify any missing elements – solutions, barriers, considerations;
- Test our understanding and use of domain specific terminology;
- Identify specific pathways towards solutions that could have a significant positive impact.
- How to use challenge maps in the process of designing a challenge prize – Challenge Mapping for the Longitude Prize 2014.