Published on February 28th, 2020 | by Esther Crowder


How to turn problems into solutions: Flip-to-Action method

What do marketers, product designers, business owners, and editors have in common? They all work with problems and test hypotheses to resolve them. However, there are times when professionals concentrate so profoundly on issues that they stop thinking about opportunities. Such moments put a person in a dead-end; the Flip-to-Action method helps to get out of it.

Danish product designer Jesper Henriksen created the method. Jesper Henriksen originally came up with this method for developing the Customer Journey Map, but it turned out to be workable in other situations. The scheme of this method consists in reframing a problem, generating an idea, and creating a sketch of a solution. Flip-to-Action method consists of 11 consecutive steps:

  • Choose a problem or pain

Describe as accurately as possible the problem for which you need to find a solution. It is important:

  • Do not use abstract definitions. “Ineffective corporate culture,” says nothing about the problem.
  • To formulate the problem as a fact – with the subject and his action. The answers to the questions “Who / what?” And “What happens?” For example: “Who?” Help to determine the subject and action. Users What’s happening? Do not share the application on social networks. “
  • Avoid causal relationships. Any “because,” “because,” and “since” blur the wording to several different situations. “There was a cash gap due to the lack of prepayments because customers do not trust us” – in one sentence, there are three problems! Choose one and work with it. You can return to the rest later.


  • Identify the reasons

Ask yourself, “Why is this happening? What are the reasons?”. Write out at least three hypotheses explaining the appearance of the problem. You can rely on research data or simply put forward realistic assumptions about its mechanism.

  • Turn hypotheses about problems into their positive opposite

Make the hypotheses opposite – in a positive way. To make it seem like the problem no longer exists. There are two ways to do this:

  • Use a simple negation when “we cannot quickly place an order without contacting the manager” goes into “we can quickly place an order without contacting the manager.”
  • Describe the ideal for this situation. Instead of “users forget about the application” will be, “users tend to check the application several times a day and not miss a single day.”


  • Turn hypotheses into “How can we …”

Reformulate the three anti-hypotheses as questions like “How can we achieve this?”. “How can we achieve quick checkout without a manager? How can we make users eager to test the application? ”

  • Go to the Action block

Choose the most exciting and promising item, “How can we …”. An ideal candidate is a question, the solution of which will give maximum effect with minimal effort. If there are several such questions, you can make a combination of them.

Write the question come up with some answers to it. At this stage, it is better to act on the brainstorm tactics: offer options, even the most unusual ones, without immediately criticizing them.

  • Schedule a solution

Get rid of unrealistic and complicated options. The simplest and at the same time, the workable answer from the rest is the solution. Formulate it in one or two sentences and write it down. Imagine you pitching to investors or a publisher. The description should be as capacious, concise, and conceptual as the main idea of a startup or book. Try to write down the solution as short and constructive as possible, as in the article review example. When an article is reviewed, key points are written to make it easier for the reader to process the information. Similarly, it would be best if you wrote a solution for your natural perception.

  • Describe how it benefits and to whom

Under the pitch, indicate the beneficial effect of the decision: it is necessary to note who the decision is directed to, what exactly it is, and why it will be worthwhile. For example, you can write the following: “current partners will be able to select the necessary project parameters from the list, draw up a brief and send an application without the participation of a manager.

  • Draw a solution and explain how it works

Draw a solution in any form: the story “it was – in the process – it became,” individual ideas of functions or the user’s path when using your concept. In any case, the drawing should answer the questions, “What is this?” And “What is it doing?”.

  • Decide how to bring it to life

Describe the steps for implementing the solution. It is better to compose them according to the MVP model (Minimum viable product) – is a product with minimal functionality. It does not need a lot of resources, and at the same time, it is easy to test. Defining the minimum set of functions is simple – you need to leave only those of them, without which the concept will have absolutely no meaning. Everything should be excluding without which you can do.

  • Estimate Costs

Try to roughly evaluate on a scale of 1 to 3 how much money and time it will take to implement the solution. Long-term analysis and accuracy are not needed here – the main goal is to plan the costs for the first stage of development very roughly.

  • Decide what to do next

It should be a small, concrete, and simple action that you take right now. As a result, you have a concept for a solution — in other words, a hypothesis that needs testing. Not the fact that it will be confirmed. You may have to refine the idea and test it again. Maybe nothing will come of it at all. The main thing is not this. It’s much more valuable than you transferred the situation from the field of problems to the space of opportunities and are now ready to use them.

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About the Author

is a chief content writer, enthusiastic blogger and editor. He used to write for various online blogs to sharpen his writing skills. He practices writing articles in fields such as education, marketing, and management.

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