The design challenge describes the problem statement of the project sponsor in one precise sentence. It is the starting point of every project and should therefore be well worded and carefully thought through.


The design challenge provides you and your team with a clear problem statement to solve. This statement might change over time due to your research findings, however, you have a common starting point to solve your design challenge.


  • Moderator or coach is recommended to keep the session efficient

  • No specific team roles necessary. Everybody has the same tasks and responsibilities.


  • Pens and Post-Its

  • Free wall or board


1. Templates

1.1 Option 1:

In version 1 you should take your topic and try to replace the words written in capital letters with terms from the topic:

  • WHAT can WE do that’s new, HOW / WHERE?

  • WHAT can WE do differently, HOW / WHERE?

  • Example: “What services should the team offer to external partners?”


1.2 Option 2:

In version 2 you should try to replace the words written in capital letters with terms from the topic:

  • How could we do WHAT for WHOM that’s new or different in order to achieve WHAT GOAL?

  • Example: “How could we enable the integration of end customers and partners in the product development process in order to directly incorporate user feedback?”

2. Gathering questions

2.1 Ask questions: First of all everyone in the team tries to word the question themselves. Everyone words their questions on post-its (one post-it per question)


2.2 Collect them: Then, gather all the questions on a board in your team



3. Discussion and Decision

3.1 Discussion and Grouping: Discuss the questions that have been generated and group similar questions together

3.2 Decision: Rework the suggestions and then jointly decide on one question you want to continue working with

The formulation of your design challenge should provide an indication of an opportunity. It should be phrased broadly enough to accommodate unexpected discoveries, but succinctly enough that it appears to be actually resolvable.

The basis for the design challenge is a rough outline of the subject matter that can then be moulded into a specific format using a variety of templates:

© 2018 University of St. Gallen / ITMP