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Defining a Problem—How to Start

Defining a Problem is part of our Tactical Learning series of hands-on experiential workshops.

Overlap helps make things matter. Using our unique approach to learning, you gain practical tools and techniques that you can use immediately when you get back to work. Bring your lunch and learn something new.

Defining a Problem

Set the stage for new solutions by clearly identifying and breaking open a problem.

We all know what it feels like to be confronted by a problem that doesn't seem solvable. This workshop will help you learn how to open a problem and find possible solutions. A closed problem is like a yes or no question—even if you don't have the answer right now, you know a solution exists and you can recognise it when you see it. Turning a closed problem into an open problem is one of the most powerful creative skills you can develop. This Tactical Learning workshop will give you the tools to define and open a problem in a way that sets you up for solutions. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Tactical Learning workshop you will know how to:

  • Describe a problem productively 
  • Articulate why a problem needs solving
  • Generate a number of new ideas for addressing a problem
  • Navigate the beginning of a complex problem, break it down into pieces and feel progress in your discussions
  • Identify new areas of focus in a tough problem
  • Effectively use stakeholder and colleague time
  • Use visual techniques to promote better understanding and create clarity
  • Facilitate a group discussion using the tools


  • Learn from the leading design thinking company in Canada
  • Experience Overlap's unique approach to practical learning
  • Experiment with tools and techniques in a safe space
  • Collaborate in experiential learning with diverse participants and expand your network
  • Understand how these tools are applied to real problems across Canada
  • Grow your professional network


Learn about and apply new tools and methods by collaborating in teams with the guidance of an Overlap facilitator.


Anyone working to solve complex problems, particularly big, fuzzy, open problems that raise more questions the deeper you get. 


A hands-on practical learning experience with tools and worksheets, as well as facilitation notes and guides for individual and group work. You will work with fellow participants to learn together using practical tools and techniques that you can bring back to work the very same day.

Defining A Problem
Register for Nov 18, 2016 11:00AM – 1:00PM

The complete list of Tactical Learning workshops includes:

  • Navigating Complex Problems
  • Defining a Problem—How to Start
  • Engagement—Run Better Community Meetings
  • Engagement—Ask Better Questions
  • Designing Alignment—Vision & Goal Setting
  • How to Get and Use Actionable Feedback
  • What is Design Thinking?

Exceptional experience. Developed fantastic relationships. Learnings were instantly useful the next day. Want to keep learning and practicing!
— Carol T., Master Class—Design Thinking Introduction participant
Earlier Event: November 2
Navigating Complex Problems
Later Event: December 9
Master Class—Stakeholder Engagement