Transform Customer Pains To Stunning Opportunities

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Transform Pains To Opportunities

The Challenge 

When innovating, organizations typically look for solutions within the framework of their existing business model. In addition, with significant history behind them they often take customers for granted. The results are incremental solutions rather than breakthroughs.

To solve pains we need to turn them into opportunities. Our third challenge; uncover the opportunities that might solve the pain we choose.

This continues the process of narrowing down the scope of any potential product or service to a doable scope by postulating the potential problems that cause it.

In this module you select a pain and drill down to create a prioritized list of known and suspected problems that might cause it.




Team members who are responsible for shepherding an idea from its inception to roll-out. 

Session Timing

Run 50 minutes sprints with 10 minute breaks.


Plant Acorns To Grow Trees  (NEW)

Start projects very very small.

Decided Means Decided

Once a decision is made there is no returning to it.


Slowing down to uncover hidden insights and facts.

80% rule

Stop an exercise when it’s about 80% correct.


How Might We (NEW)

Re-phrases a pain as a question about potential opportunities or challenges.

Silent Brainstorming

Eliminates people in the room from dominating a session.  


Silently prioritizes a list of alternatives.

LW. SW. NW. (Learned What, So What, Now What)

LW.SW.NW. reinforces learning from the session. 




1. How Might We 

Explain HMW process

Select winning pain

Conduct silent brainstorm

Post and group HMW’s 

  1. How Might We re-phrases a pain as a question about potential pain into an opportunity. It turns a negative into a positive question about potential challenges rather than getting bogged down with problems and difficulties. 
  2. Steward picks a pain. Team members recommend what they feel are the most important pains and justify with information they have.  The steward then decides.
  3. Silent brainstorming:
    1. Rationale – eliminates people from dominating the conversation. All voices are equally heard.
    2. Give 90 seconds to write as many pains they assume or know to be true. Indicate those pains they “know to exist” versus “postulate they exist”.
    3. Give 30 seconds to pick their best (3-5) pains and write on separate post-it notes. Use different colors for “know versus assume to exist.”
  4. Post: Eliminate duplicates. Group notes into themes and label them.

2. Dot-mocracy

Explain process

Vote on HME

Group winners

Select the winning HME

Capture the result


  1. Describe the process on the left.
  2. Give each participant 2 avery ¼” labels. Vote on pains, not the themes. Place 2 dots on one note, or 1 dot on two notes.
  3. Identify post-it notes with two or more votes. Draw a circle around the winning themes. 
  4. Steward selects a pain. Typically with the most votes. Select a pain, not a theme.
  5. Document: for example take a picture.
  6. LW. SW. NW.


  • Apply 80% rule to eliminate duplicates group themes.
  • Prioritize events one at a time and go through the rest of the modules before working on a new event. Learning from each pass enriches subsequent run throughs. 


  • 3×5 inch Post-it notes of different colors. 
  • Sharpie fine pens.
  • Avery ¼” colour coding labels.
  • Large white boards, writeable walls, paper to line the wall.