Problem Solution Mapping

When you want your digital team to be:

  • Aligned on measureable goals
  • In agreement on the most important problems to solve
  • Working on solutions with high confidence for impact

Problem Solution Mapping is an operating methodology invented at Clearhead based on our observations and cumulative learnings from thousands of UX experiments. We realized we could make a much bigger impact by changing the way we chose ideas, taking time to understand and embrace problems before we proposed or tested solution hypotheses.

  • The Clearhead process resulted in a philosophical change, and we’re making traction in how we do things.
    Megan Millard, VP Sales + Marketing, Nau
  • Clearhead’s strategic approach to UX and digital product development ensures that our investments will solve our end users’ biggest problems and, by doing so, will also yield significant ROI for the business.
    Mark Friedman, President of Ecommerce, Steve Madden

We developed PSM based on the premise that any project, program or change is an experiment.

  • Promotions and campaigns
  • Merchandising changes
  • Copy changes
  • UX changes
  • IA changes
  • New SaaS additions
  • New feature additions
  • Everything

So… how does a PSM workshop work?

Today, PSM is at the core of every engagement with Clearhead clients, whether that is an Accelerator, Digital Optimization Program or Data-Driven Redesign.

  • 01 Establish goals

    First, our senior consultants meet one-on-one with key stakeholders to identify what success looks like, and in what timeframe.

  • 02 uncover problems

    Next, we meet with cross-functional groups. Armed with markers, post its and technology, we uncover business and end user problems together. These problems are organized into clusters and prepared for validation.

  • 03 analyze & prioritize

    This step is about using analytics, stats, surveys, usability research, and more to delineate, validate and prioritize each problem. We then organize a final list of problems the evidence indicates are most worth solving.

    The magic happens when everyone agrees on the priority of problems, using data. These articulated problems become the tree trunk from which all high impact experiments, ideas and solutions grow.

  • 04 ideate solution hypotheses

    Then the fun part: solution hypotheses. We use the same discovery techniques leveraged in problem research to ideate the best solutions for the most important problems. Ideas can come from anywhere, so we work with cross-functional teams to bring new ideas to the wall (and bring our own based on the 1000s of experiments we’ve launched).

  • 05 develop optimization roadmap

    We prioritize these ideas into a hypothesis roadmap that takes the form of experiments, tests, research or analytics. We’re looking for confidence in the highest impact ideas to solve the highest priority problems, ultimately to move the needle on those key goals.

The Outcomes

Your map – an evidence-based, fully understood and agreed upon set of goals, problems and hypotheses – becomes the roadmap across your teams. Your Marketers, Product Managers, Merchandisers, Designers, Developers & Analysts all working on solving a common set of Problems; all experimenting towards better outcomes.

From this roadmap, Clearhead helps clients start experimenting with Digital Optimization Programs and/or Optimization Accelerators. From here, all activity is centered around value creation through the continuous solving of critical problems.

  • The PSM methodology helped me to focus on root cause problems rather than treating symptoms.
    Ana Grace, Former Director of Ecommerce, GoDaddy
  • The Clearhead team worked alongside Tesco as trusted advisors to empower and align efforts to move beyond the status quo to achieve the organizational goals.
    Ashish Umre, Lead Scientist--Marketing Data Science & Optimization, Tesco

Next steps

From here Clearhead can help you execute tests, experiments, analysis, personalization, research, disruptive design, full redesigns or help solve organizational problems. But for now, this is where Problem Solution Mapping ends.

How would PSM
work for you?

Let’s Talk