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Starting with an end goal in mind, create a broad problem space which encompasses your goal. We start Start with a broad problem space as it encourages creative thinking which may generate more robust solutions and new possibilities (serendipitous discovery and virtuous cycles). A more general problem space would also appeal to a broader audience which can give deeper insights into established demographics, or new insights into under served members.

For example, if you define your a goal is defined as to "increase museum gift shop receipts by 10%" and solicit ideas and solutions based on that scope, you may find solutions related to changing prices, or improving inventory. Also the study may attract only people with relevant retail experience.

If the problem were defined more broadly as "discover why guests do not visit the museum gift shop", the ideas you get may be more interesting and useful for broader applications (i.e. "Strollers Baby strollers can not fit between the retail shelves" may lead to better accessibility throughout the facility). Implementing solutions based on such perspectives may help you toward the goal of 10% sales increases, as well as broader beneficial impact such as higher customer satisfaction. Also the broader problem space makes room for a larger demographic to participate.

Step 2: Come up with some Scenarios to Aid Exploration

While it is desirable to have a broad problem space and scope, there will need to be some structure to help participants. Without some structure in place, the process may be chaotic, participants confused or feeling intimidated, and the outcomes may not be as useful. To bring some order and help focus the collaboration, create one or more scenario in which participants will


  • Some structure is needed to help guide the experience
  • Do some dry runs / rehearsals with colleagues to identify possible shortcomings - address those as necessary

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