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Cruising the problem area

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30-45 minutes

  • Pens of different colours

  • Sticky notes

  • A3 or A4 sheets of paper or a computer

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What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?


An intent statement is a sentence or short paragraph of 4-8 sentences, that states what you intend to do with your work. It helps to define the vision that guides the work, and therefore during the Cruising the Problem phase, it can guide the investigation work of the problem area. The statement should give a brief, precise idea of why you do what you do, where your work is coming from, and where it is going.


Steps how to use this tool in practice


The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group. Tasks can be divided when using it in pairs or a group.


Gather your thoughts and ideas on the problem area you want to focus on. Create several options of your focus and goal to choose the final one from. You can take into account the nature of your sector and its events, and work at this stage.

When working alone, you could discuss them with someone to test and get more support for your thoughts.

When working in pairs or in a group, get together and gather your thoughts and ideas together. Evaluate the options and select the final intent statement together.


Having reflected on your ideas, clarify your vision and write it down as an intent statement: What do you intend to do? Why do you intend to do so - what is the background? What are the opportunities? What are the risks? What is needed to reach the intended goal? You can write these on paper or on sticky notes.


Formulate your intent on paper or computer file using as few words as possible keeping only the most important things from your reflection in the previous point: The goal – what you intend to do, why (the background), the opportunities, the risks, and what is needed to reach the intended goal.


You can make a visual presentation of your intent statement and keep it in sight while you work on the project.

Tips and hints for using this tool

  • You can also formulate an intent statement of your professional self.

  • An intent statement can also be used in other phases, modified to the purpose of that phase.

Other tools of this phase

Experience the service first-hand.

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A visual map of the customer’s journey.

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A visual overview diagram of opportunities.

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Studying the existing challenge area.

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Listening to existing customers and analysing this feedback.

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A design brief presents a snapshot overview of vital aspects of a project.

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