Chapter 5. Framing the Problem

Now that everyone has adopted a futures mindset, you’re ready to start gathering the project details for what you’re going to be working on. The initial steps were for you to prepare yourself and whomever you’re working with for this process. Now we need to define the WHAT of the project. Of course, as you run the diagnostic, you may certainly discover these details along the way. And they might have even been included in the initial project brief that was given to you when the client hired you or asked for your help. But now that we know more about the people, the context and application of the process, and the potential complexities and opportunities, we can start dialing in the specific details based on that information.

Having a clearly defined problem frame will serve you well because it will help you decide how to begin the initial research and start planning activities. In this chapter we look at how to articulate the question you’re trying to answer. Futuring is more than an image we’re trying to paint; it’s the result of deep exploration into possible worlds. Similarly, we are painting that image using the tools at our disposal, as well as using our imagination to depict a world based on the limited information we have.

If someone said to you, “Paint me a city,” you might paint any city that you imagine in your head. But that might not be the city they had in mind. However, with deeper inquiry, or given a more articulated proposition such ...

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