Problem Scenarios are

  • real, imagined, and hypothesized problems and needs that particular people experience or are hypothesized to experience in a problem space
  • a unit of analysis, a slice of time, that investigators study
  • a rhetorical construct.

Key Concepts: Design; Design Thinking; Lean Product Development; Mixed Research Methods; Problem Definition; Problem Scenarios; Rhetoric; Venture Design


Problem Scenarios are units of analysis in Customer Discovery, an empirical research method.

During the early stages of product development, Investigators observe customers to understand how they experience a particular problem, a particular problem space. They take notes about what customers see, feel, think, and do. They listen to customers talk informally about existing solutions to a problem.

Over time, as a result of these customer discovery interviews, developers create Customer Personas scenarios about how particular customer cohorts (aka customer segments) are be likely to respond to new services, features, applications, and products.

Related Resources

See Alex Cowan’s course materials for Problem Scenarios in his tutorial on Venture Design.

Source: https://www.alexandercowan.com/venture-design/