Ideation 5: Researching and Selecting Problems

Researching and Selecting Problems

Ideation 5

This lesson will help you earn points in several lines of the rubric focusing on the problem and solution in the Pitch Video part of the rubric.

In this lesson, you will…

  • Check the scale of your problem
  • Decide on a problem to solve with your team

Key Terms

  • Research - gathering information about a subject
  • Scale - the size of your problem or solution

Problem Scale

In this lesson, you will check the scale, or the size of the problems you brainstormed in the “Brainstorming Problems” lesson. By the end of this lesson you will be able to select a problem that is meaningful and important to you and your community.

Check the scale of your team’s top problems you have brainstormed by asking the same questions about each one:

  • Is this a really big problem?
  • Has the problem appeared in national or global news?
Room for Innovation

Activity: Selecting Problems

  1. Add any new problems you have thought of since the last meeting to your problem list from Ideation 2: Brainstorming Problems.
  2. Select a few of your team’s favorite problems. To check the scale of each problem, ask these questions:
    • Is this a really big problem?
    • Has the problem appeared in national or global news?
    • Does this problem exist in other countries? 
    • Is there a UN agency working on this problem?
    • Are there national foundations, nonprofits, companies, or startups interested in the problem?
    • Is there a consequence to NOT solving this problem?
    • Can you find 3 existing companies or solutions that are doing what you want to do? (If yes, it might be more difficult to come up with an innovative solution)
  3. If you can answer yes to some of the questions above and you are still interested in the problem, move it to your short list. If you can’t answer yes to at least a few of the questions, you may want to brainstorm further and explore more ideas. Local is important too! It’s OK if your problem is not global, but it should be a meaningful problem, whether it’s just in your community or in many countries.
  4. Stop when you reach one or two problems you are very interested in that are important and meaningful.

Hear from other Technovation Girls teams!

If your team is still having trouble identifying a problem to solve, don't worry! It can take several meetings and discussions to decide on a problem you all care about and want to work together to solve.



Congratulations! Now that you have identified the problem you want to solve, you can shift to thinking about solutions. Continue to do research on the problem to help you come up with innovative solutions. You should have identified several websites and news stories about your problem. Read through these resources to learn as much as you can about your problem. Take notes. Don’t forget to write down the sources you use because you will need to cite them in your business plan. See who else is working on your problem, and contact them to see if you can help them or partner with them. 

  • What problem will you focus on?
  • Who else is doing interesting work on this problem?
  • Why are you excited to solve this problem?

Additional Resources

Example Technovation Girls Apps

Here are some examples of Apps that solve problems relating to trash and trash disposal.

Eedo  by The Cantavits

81% of people dispose of e-waste improperly, which results in toxic fumes and polluted water. Eedo is an Android app solution that provides an end-to-end connection between e-waste producers and authorized recyclers.

ZeroWaste (0 Waste) by 3BigTomatoes

ZeroWaste provides a simple way to help people recognize different types of waste in their home and how to recycle, reuse, and reduce them properly. It provides pictures, videos and games to help people, especially children and new comers with language limits, to understand local waste collecting rules, and also promote the awareness of "0 waste" to protect our environment. It can be used in different cities and by everyone. It's fun and educational, and most importantly, it's free!

Discardious by Team Charis

Discardious is an app that helps to solve the problem of improper waste disposal in Nigeria. When using the app, users can elect a location using Google Map to get started. The app allows them to either report a hazard in their environment or request a mobile cart to pick up their waste.