The three Ps are Probe-Ponder-Prove. This is an iDream method based on the principles of Design Thinking. A tried and tested method, it can be used to solve any big and small problem. The basis of the method lies in the fact that before we jump to the solution of any problem that we are faced with, we need to spend time probing to define the correct problem, and then synthesizing the insights from such definition to arrive at a solution. Moreover this method puts the end user at the centre of the process.

Probe First

The first thing to do really is to probe well enough to clearly define the problem. Often it is seen that we spend considerable time and effort in solutioning the wrongly defined problem. For example, in all the imagery, which comes to one’s mind regarding the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the top of the mind recall is someone cleaning our streets with a broom. That imagery sends out two clear and very strong messages, do not litter our streets, and if streets are littered, please clean them up. Was street cleanliness our problem? If it was, it was the simplest to solve, wasn’t it? Just increase the number of sweepers and the frequency of cleaning. So clearly, there appears to be a gap between intent and perception.

It is of paramount interest at an end-user level, at a human level, to try and understand what is the real problem. If you went out with the traditional tools and started asking people what their expectations are, they will not be able to give you answers which help to define the problem accurately. Human beings cannot clearly articulate their unmet needs. This is what Steve Jobs meant when he said that he never does market survey before the launch of a product. Humans cannot give you enough feedback about a need, which has not been met. So asking does not help. Observation does. One needs to observe people as they go through their day-to-day life; and there are various tools in our method to do so.

Then Ponder

Observation leads to tons of data. When videography tools are used, one is often left with hundred of hours of footage. Such data needs to be synthesized with an aim to define the correct problem. Controlled brain-storming sessions at this stage helps.

It is important to set rules for such sessions, as otherwise it could end without achieving the goals. It is good to have multiple ideas at this stage; but it is important to quickly pick ones, which are most likely to work. A combination of convergent and divergent thinking is important. In convergent thinking, the group aims towards finding one or two ideas to work upon; whereas in divergent thinking the idea is to have multiple ideas to choose from.

At this stage it is important to do rapid prototyping to test ideas. Prototyping saves enormous amounts of time and money; and one must not wait for the perfect solution to emerge on paper before prototyping. Rough prototypes go a long way in the iterative process to fine-tune the final solution. When it comes to the design of spatial experiences, in addition to the above prototyping also involves augmented reality, models and other animation tools.

Tried and tested methods are used by iDream at this stage.

Prove It

Now is the time to bring the solution to life. The operations manual, the revenue model and at times the business model gets finalized at this stage. The idea is piloted and partnerships are built. The solution becomes a success because the very people the solution attempts to serve is kept at the heart of the process.

In conventional thinking, the tendency in problem solving is to jump to this stage, without understanding or defining the problem clearly in the first place.

Resource Assessment: It is time to do a reality check to see if you have all that you need to execute the solution. Finding a solution and execution are two different things. Staff the project and create a roadmap.

Finally Partnerships: It is only now that you need to think about hiring consultants like real estate agents, architects, branding agencies, project managers, given the demand of the project. By now, it will not only be clear that you will need to rely on a variety of partners; but more importantly the roadmap for each and the relationship matrix between each other would have been defined.