Defining Problems in Complex Times

Unique joint offering

The Governance Lab at New York University (GovLab) and the Institute on Governance (IOG) are growing the public sector solution space in Canada by introducing a unique joint offering into the public sector marketplace.

Two-day deep dive on problem definition

This offering – a two-day, deep-dive workshop on problem definition – is consistent with the latest approaches to design-thinking. Its purpose is to help participants think more critically about the problem they are trying to solve, maximize the value of their solution by repositioning it upstream when appropriate, and ensure the problem is understood by the end users most affected. This approach is based on our observation that the downstream consequences of inexact, incomplete, or insufficiently rigorous problem definition are often frustrating and costly. When problems are ill-defined, solutions are needlessly expensive and detract from public sector outcomes.

Team-based and high touch

This highly interactive team-based workshop blends professionally facilitated group discussions with mini-case studies, breakout sessions, and hands-on exercises using diagnostic tools such as the Problem Solving Canvas and Empathy Maps. It leads participants from a robust understanding of their problem to an efficient, actionable solutions path. Ideal candidates for participation are teams who are passionate about improving outcomes for stakeholders, intrigued by the opportunities within their reach, and eager for action.

Fully co-delivered

The workshop is co-delivered by the GovLab and the IOG. Follow-on support is also available in the form of courses already on offer from either of the partners, as well as customized training, advisory support, and/or project specific work.

For more information

Please contact Nicholas Charney at or 613.562.0090 ext. 233 to learn more about this new offering; or download the 1 page overview.


Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Our Twitter

Quick Links

Connect With Us