The problem context canvas

The title sounds heavy, and I also prefer to think in terms of possibilities rather than problems ...

But… most new products or services solve a problem for a customer. The customer has been experiencing the annoyance for some time, and may even try to avoid it alternative solutions to invent.

The moment you come up with a solution (= product or service) for something that is not a relevant problem for the customer, the introduction usually fails.

3D television

For example, a few years ago 3D television was introduced for home viewers. We also bought a new Smart TV. The 'smart' piece is widely used for Netflix, among others. The 3D functionality? To be honest, no idea how it works and the 3D glasses are still in the packaging. If I want to see 3D, we only like that with specific films in the cinema. At home that is not necessary for us, not really cozy with crazy glasses on the couch.

A woman views 3D images through special glasses. | Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images


And so more people thought about this. I now know that 3D TV no longer even exists, see

Love the problem, not the solution

From Lean Startup, the adage is therefore “love the problem, not the solution”. The main challenge is not to find the best technical solution, but a solution for it a problem that is relevant.

After all, if the problem is not relevant, we don't have to look for a solution. If you start from the solution, you often fall in love with your own solution and develop a blind spot. We prefer to find out more quickly in the product development process whether something has a chance of success than late. After all, the product development costs increase the longer you work on it, and certainly when we move to technical development, the costs increase quickly.

Problem context canvas

We use it to deepen the problem problem context canvas, available for free download on our site.

I will explain this canvas based on a simple example. My 14-year-old son lives 13 miles from school. Sometimes he goes by bus, sometimes by bicycle. Before Christmas, he got wireless headphones that work on Bluetooth and have a very long battery life. He was very happy with that and it is used every day.

Suppose we now go back in time and imagine that these headphones do not exist yet ...


probleem context canvas


The problem has apparently been recognizable, because there are more than enough headphones on the market and I see a lot of young people walking with them.

Wireless headphones that have the following features:

  • Comfortable
  • Light weight
  • Look cool, even when they are on your head or hung around your neck
  • Easy to put in your bag
  • Sustainability and
  • Good sound
  • Long battery life
  • Bluetooth and control via headphones
  • Less than € 50, -

All things that we can plot on the problem context canvas ...

The problem context canvas therefore helps you to formulate the problem more sharply and to know which challenge we want to tackle. Before we come up with or even create solutions, we should first test whether they recognize this in the target group. But that's another step ...

Want to get started yourself?

Visit our download page

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