You can download a PDF of this tool here: Time/Impact Matrix
Time/Impact Matrix
Convergence Tool for Problem Finding
Introduction
In creative problem solving, after you find your objective and learn more about why you want to solve it, you generate a lot of problems that are hindering you from reaching your objective. Your objective is your desired end-state; it’s how you ideally would want things to be. Usually there’s more than just 1 problem blocking you from reaching this objective. You brainstorm all these problems in the 3^{rd} stage of creative problem solving, Problem Finding. You need to pick only one of these problems to generate ideas to solve it in the next stage, Idea Finding. This is a tool I created to show the problems that would have the most impact on getting you to your ideal end-goal.
Time |
||
Impact | 1
High Impact |
2
High Impact |
3
Low Impact |
4
Low Impact |
Process
- Brainstorm problem areas within your objective. If you want to, write them on Post-it Notes.
- Once you have an amount you’re comfortable moving forward with, go back through your problem list and determine the potential impact and timeframe for solving each problem.
- Impact – When this problem is solved, what kind of impact would it have on your objective? Would a potential solution completely fulfill your objective? Would it be a small step towards meeting your objective?
- Term – When you have a solution to this problem, how long would it take to implement it? Could a solution be implemented tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? Next decade?
- According to your determinations, find where each problem would fall in the matrix above. Place the number from the quadrant next to the problem.
- Cluster your problems together by number by rewriting them with the appropriate number at the top or moving all your Post-It notes with the same number together. Title each cluster by quadrant number.
- Within each cluster, rank each problem by impact and timeframe against the other problems. The problem you think will have the most impact should be ranked a 1; the second-most impact a 2 and so on until all the problems have been ranked. Do the same for each problem for timeframe, starting with the shortest.
- Multiply the impact and timeframe rankings together for each problem. This is the overall time/impact ranking for that problem. Place or rewrite the problems according to their rankings starting with the lowest total number to the highest total number.
- You have now determined and grouped your ideas by their potential impact and timeframe. Select a problem to move forward with into idea finding/ideation. We recommend choosing a problem from Quadrant 1 or 2 with a low overall time/impact ranking.