Steps 1.1 through 1.5

Key question to answer in Activity Stage 1: Can the identified problem and potential solution be clearly and concisely articulated in objective terms, as articulated by the target beneficiaries?  Do not assume that expertise in a field of practice translates into articulation of a problem/solution.

To view supporting evidence, click on magnifying glass icons or hyperlink text.
Click on the toolbox images to view tools related to each step.

Step 1.1

Identify a problem faced by persons with disabilities that could potentially be addressed by a technology-based device. Assess the need for envisioned Instrument/Tool by gathering sufficient and detailed input from the intended primary user group (e.g., Persons with disabilities/Family/Professional) along with all relevant information sources and potential secondary user groups (Researchers; Clinicians; Policy/Funders; Consumers; Brokers; Manufacturers).

Key question: What criteria define the likely user of this Instrument/Tool?  Citation:  Moore, G.A. (2014). Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition. New York, NY: HarperColllins Publishers.

Step 1.2

Define the problem (derived from context of need) in measurement, monitoring,  manipulation or fabrication and also identify intended target audience for solution. Identify this project's specific context for both Problem and Solution.

Key question: Was the idea for this Instrument/Tool truly derived from customer needs (or was it perhaps considered to be a natural evolution of research and development)?

Step 1.3

Propose plausible solution (goal) to problem in the form of a new/improved Instrument or Tool. Once done, thoroughly investigate whether the envisioned solution to the validated problem already exists, and if not then determine why not.

Tip: If the Tool or Instrument needs to integrate with other systems or equipment — then specify how this will occur and which stakeholder will implement it.

Step 1.4

Determine the contribution of this project with respect to the proposed deliverable(s).  Will the project end with:

  1. A Conceptual Discovery about the problem/solution suitable for publication/presentation (via NtK Discovery Phase)?
  2. A Functional Prototype demonstrating proof of concept as an invention (via NtK Invention Phase);
  3. A Commercial Product deployed in the marketplace (via NtK Innovation Phase)?

A key question to answer in Step 1.4 is:  What Stakeholders are positioned to uptake and apply the project's envisioned output to achieve the end product? 

Step 1.5

Outline the path from planned project output (Conceptual Discovery; Prototype Invention; or Product Innovation) to the target market and beneficiary stakeholders. Address another set of key questions:

  1. How will target users find and assess the Product?
  2. What partners will be needed to complete Profile potential Co-Development partners for downstream Stages/Gates?

A key question to answer in Step 1.5 is: How will the target users find, assess and access the envisioned Instrument/Tool.

Decision Gate 1

Does the proposed problem/solution set appear to be novel in state of practice; generally feasible to implement; will envisioned output be useful to target audience; and is there a clear path from project output to the beneficiary stakeholders? 

The project leader has three options:

  1. Proceed directly to Stage 2;
  2. Reiterate Stage 1 if any of the critical elements are not fully validated; or
  3. Terminate the project due to inability to clearly articulate critical elements including: Problem, Solution, Target Audience, Project Path, or Intended Output.