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The Innovation Process
Stage 1


Define your problem and map out the challenge

Recognition should be the first stage of any innovation journey. It broadly consists of identifying a problem or opportunity to respond to, collecting and assessing readily available knowledge on the issue and context, diagnosing root causes, and properly framing the challenge.

Gaining a deep and insightful understanding of the problem is the key to any successful innovation. The more time spent on understanding the problem, the less the likelihood of developing an inappropriate solution. This stage consists of four modules and results in the creation of your Challenge Brief.

“Clear problem definition is at the heart of successful innovation, through all stages. Focus on identifying, articulating and meeting needs, monitoring progress and changing course accordingly. Failed innovations are often associated with a lack of focus at the start, or conversely a failure to adapt as evidence and learning suggests a need to change the approach.”
HIF Principles of Humanitarian Innovation


1.1 Initial Impressions
The activities in this module introduce a number of tools for identifying problems and opportunities, emphasising the need for opportunities to be matched with problems.
1.2 Starting Point Assessment
The activities in this module will guide in quickly gathering and categorising information about the problem you have identified, in order to expand and deepen your knowledge.
1.3 Root Causes and Contributing Factors
This module provides tools and approaches to look beyond your problem’s symptoms to its causes and contributing factors. Tools and advice are provided to enable you to do this with both quick and rigorous approaches.
1.4 Challenge Brief
The activities in this module capture your learning in a Challenge Brief containing a problem statement, an impact goal and design criteria for your solution.