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Product Playbook

Solution Ideation

Now that you have identified a new product opportunity it is time to be CREATIVE and get a first understanding of what the solution could be and how it could look like. It can range from a simple button to be added to your existing product to launching a completely new product for a new target group.

Be aware that users WON’T tell you how the solution should look like.

To come up with a first solution is the unique craft of strong product people: You draft a first version based on the data you collected so far, taking inspiration from other solutions, while also trusting your product intuition, gut feeling, and experience in building products.

As the ideation of new solutions often requires lots of creativity, it can be beneficial to involve different people from different backgrounds in this process, e.g. letting every team member sketch potential solutions and vote in a design sprint setting.

Furthermore, your engineers can already give input regarding the technical feasibility of potential solutions.

Keep in mind, however, that product is not a democratic decision: the final decision which solution to go forward with lies in the product manager’s responsibility.

Furthermore to mention that at the ideation stage, you do not need a pixel-perfect prototype yet. Focus on getting a mutual understanding in your team on how the solution could roughly look like. Sometimes this can be expressed in one written sentence, other times it can require wireframes.

The most common techniques applied in the ideation stage:

  1. Opportunity-Solution Tree: Derive solutions from opportunities
  2. Impact Mapping: Discovering technique on WHAT to build
  3. Ideation Session: Step-by-step ideation session from Tim Herbig
  4. User Story Mapping: Visualize all activities and tasks the product could have
  5. How-Might-We Technique: Frame your challenge as a “How Might We” question
  6. Design Sprint: Team workshop to prototype a solution and test it with users all in 1 week
  7. (Low-fidelity) Prototype and Wireframes / Paper Sketches

Shape Value Proposition

When building something new, always aim for making it truly delight your customers and stand out from your competitors.

Here is a good framework you could use for exploring “delighter benefits” in the ideation stage (extracted from The Lean Product Playbook):


Opportunity-Solution Tree

To come up with the right ideas it can be very helpful to zoom out and get reminded of the big picture:


The Opportunity-Solution Tree allows you to derive solutions from opportunities. Learn how to use it here.