How do we define the problem?

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Leeds Service Jammers 2019 get to grips with the challenge under the mentorship of a volunteer

So you’ve got the theme, but what does it mean?  In groups, you will work together to frame the problem.  But how?

Govjam won’t prescribe the way in which you approach this, but we’d suggest you try having a stab at just writing a statement about what the problem is.  This blog just picks a random theme as an example, yours could be anything!

You could start by writing up your assumptions about the problem, for instance ‘people are too busy to take part in community arts events’.  You can then start to unpick it, for instance:

– which people?

– what do we mean by ‘too busy’?

– why are people busy?

– what is the impact of not attending community arts events?

You can then consider framing your question as a ‘how might we’ question, for instance:

‘how might community arts events attract people who commute away from the area?’

You can then continue to challenge it – for instance, why does it matter that the community arts events attract more people?  Is this about sustaining a community arts group?  What is the benefit of that art group anyway? 

You can use a popular technique known as the Five Whys to really get to the bottom of why your group thinks this is a problem.  It means literally asking ‘why?’ five times:

‘People are too busy to attend community arts events’


‘People have long working days’


‘People have to commute, which adds time onto the working day’


‘People think there aren’t enough job opportunities in the local community’


‘This is a small, rural community and our traditional industries are in decline’


‘Demand for those traditional products has fallen, but our local arts sector is starting to pick up’

Now you can see the question is really about sustaining a new arts economy, which puts a whole different complexion on the problem!

Up for the challenge? Book your ticket now at


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