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How to Turn Problems into Solutions: Flip-to-Action Method

What do marketers, product designers, business owners, and editors have in common? They all work with problems and test hypotheses to resolve them. However, there are times when professionals concentrate so deeply on problems that they stop thinking about opportunities.

Marginality is falling, readers are massively unsubscribing from the newsletter, no one knows about the new features of the application – such situations can really be confusing. And then the Flip-to-Action method comes into play.

The method was created by Danish product designer Jesper Henriksen. Initially, it was intended for the development of the Customer Journey Map, but it turned out to be workable in other situations. The scheme is based on reframing a problem, generating an idea, and creating a solution sketch.

Of course, there are times when ideas are generated in a continuous stream without special methods or outside help. But what to do when this does not happen? Howl at the moon? Not worth it. Better try Flip-to-Action!

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Step 1. Choose a problem or pain

Take one problem or pain – specific, tangible and meaningful
Take the template and fill out the first field. In it, describe as specifically as possible the problem for which you need to find a solution. It is important to:

Do not use abstract definitions. “Ineffective corporate culture” says nothing about the problem. “Employees are regularly late for office and for meetings” – you can already work with this.
To formulate the problem as a fact – with the subject and his action. The answers to the questions “Who / what?” And “What happens?”, For example, “Who?” Help to determine the subject and action. Users What’s happening? Do not share the application on social networks. ”
Avoid causal relationships. Any “because”, “because”, and “since” blur the wording to several different situations. “There was a cash gap due to the lack of prepayments, because customers do not trust us” – in one sentence there are three problems! Choose one and work with it. You can return to the rest later.
Step 2. Identify the reasons
Put forward three hypotheses about the mechanism of the problem in the block “Why?”
Put forward three hypotheses about the mechanism of the problem in the block “Why?”
Ask yourself, “Why is this happening? What are the reasons? ”And write out at least three hypotheses explaining the appearance of the problem. You can rely on research data or simply put forward realistic assumptions about its mechanism.

Consider the real situation from my practice – poor sales and sales of mini-projects. It has three links: a client, an employee of the agency and their communication. The process in the system begins with the emergence of a customer need and the formation of a request. Then the client sends a request to the agency, and employees work out a brief and calculate the estimate.

In studying the causes, I came to the conclusion that the main inhibitory factors are repetitive situations in each link in the system. Typically, customers knew their goal (for example, to increase brand awareness), but often did not focus on the tools to achieve it. The agency calculated volumes and prices manually for each project, and this reduced the speed of working out the brief. There were also problems in communication: requests came through different channels and could easily get lost in the stream of other messages.

Step 3. Turn them over!
Now the three hypotheses need to be turned over and turned into antihypotheses
Now the three hypotheses need to be turned over and turned into antihypotheses
Make the hypotheses completely opposite – in a positive way. To make it seem like the problem no longer exists. There are two ways to do this:

Use a simple negation when “we cannot quickly place an order without contacting the manager” goes into “we can quickly place an order without contacting the manager”.
Describe the ideal for this situation. Instead of “users forget about the application” will be “users tend to check the application several times a day and not miss a single day”.
Step 4. Turn into “How can we …”
It is time to ask questions – and write them down in the “How Can We” block
It is time to ask questions – and write them down in the “How Can We” block
Reformulate the three antihypotheses as questions like “How can we achieve this?” How can we achieve quick checkout without a manager? How can we make users eager to test the application?

Design Thinking: How to Create a Product That Solves a Problem
Step 5. Go to the Action block
Go to the second sheet of the template and start with the “How can we” field.

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