Clear All
Get Results

How will this tool help?

The societal problem you are trying to address is what you and your team wake up in the morning committed to solving. Clearly defining the societal problem will help you:

  • Focus your efforts and resources on how to address it at scale
  • Understand where you fit in the wider ecosystem of tackling this problem
  • Identify which target constituent(s) to focus on
  • Develop your scale strategy and model

We aim to “fall in love with the problem and not the solution”. This means being flexible and willing to adapt your solution, and open to any scaling pathways that will help you to address the societal problem at scale. This way, you can ensure you are scaling up something that will truly make a dent in it.


To work on the tool worksheet, follow these steps:

Make a copy to your own Google Drive folder: Click file > Make a copy > Entire presentation > Select your personal drive folder, OR
Download a copy to your desktop: Click file > Download > Microsoft Word (or other file type)


Step 1

Brain dump: write down all the ways your problem manifests.

Think about the root causes, the problem itself, and the consequences of the problem. Think about who experiences this problem and how?





Step 2

Within page 2 of the worksheet, categorise your thoughts and settle on the parts of the societal problem you want to target.


Step 3

Identify and refine what specific part(s) of the problem you are aiming to address. Determining this will depend on you and your team’s appetite, resources, and how much you are committed to taking on.


For example, dismantling structural racism across sectors might be something you would like to do, but you or your team do not have the expertise or resources to tackle this. In this case, you may want to consider addressing a specific part of the problem- such as focusing on one sector or environment, i.e the workplace.

Step 4

Refine your problem definition and challenge your thinking by keeping the following criteria in mind:

  1.  Is there a big gap between what is available today and what is needed to address the problem?
  2.  Are you sure you’ve identified the main problem rather than a symptom of the problem?
  3.  Does it avoid referencing any solution? Make sure you’re focusing on defining the problem, not how it’s solved.
  4.  If you identify lots of problems, is there anything that unites them? Could they all be roots of a single problem, or symptoms of a single problem?
  5.  Is the problem you are solving unique? How is the problem you’re addressing different from what others are focusing on?

Step 5

Ask your team, stakeholders, and target users for their input to get different perspectives.


Step 6

Align with your team on a concise problem definition statement. Ending with a concise statement is helpful for team alignment, motivation, and clarity of purpose.



Step 7

You are now ready to move onto the ‘Intended Impact’ tool to define the change you want to achieve.



Want to take the next step on your scaling journey?

Sign up for 'Getting Scale Ready'

This is our 5-week online course designed to help you build the foundations for scale

Get more out of the toolkit

Sign up to get tools, bite-sized learning resources, and tips straight in your inbox
Press enter to search or esc to cancel