Prep Time:
Time to run:
30 min

Statement starters template

An approach to phrasing problem statements that invites broad exploration

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If you want the best solutions, start by asking the right questions. Critical thinkers are adept at uncovering what the central focus of exploration ought to be, rather than accepting a problem as given. By using phrases that encourage broad thinking, Statement Starters jump-start discussions toward solving the right problem in the best way.

As their main objective, Statement Starters encourage restating problems as invitations for exploration. Instead of being dictatorial, leaving little room for deviation from a predetermined type of solution, these phrases ask your team to consider various alternatives. For example, a prescriptive statement like, “We need a device to help people listen to music” contains an embedded solution. Instead, a Statement Starter might convert the challenge into a question like this: “How might we help people listen to music?” This phrasing leaves room for multiple interpretations of the challenge, thereby increasing the possibility of finding new and better solutions.

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LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.