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vær problemet

Our tendency to see things from our own perspective not only impacts how we see things, but also what we end up not seeing. By situating ourselves as the problem, product or user, we are able to discover things that we may not ordinarily be aware of. This method lets the group come quickly up to speed with the understanding of a problem. The method originates in systemic thinking.



Split the students up into groups. They choose someone from the group to imagine that they are the problem. The rest of the group will then ask “the problem” a range of questions. For example:

  • How are you?
  • How would you rather be?
  • What would you do to have it your way?
  • What practical steps would you take?
  • What is the first step?

This method gives the “problem” the opportunity to come up with new approaches. Make sure that groups note their thoughts, reflections, ideas as “the problem” advances through the process.

Worth Considering

There are several variations of this exercise. Instead of interviewing the problem, you could ask the students to identify the problem’s stakeholders and interview them instead.


Make an interview guide for the problem and its relevant stakeholders.


Tremendous inspiration can be gained from, among other things, understanding a problem and a system’s internal influences as described in systemic theory where many disciplines are represented. Humberto Maturana and Kenneth Gergen are regarded as the leading theoreticians.

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