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The problem with problems.

An equity-centered approach to problem definition

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>>Opens January 15th, 2019<<


"A problem well-put is half-solved"

Who...me?

~Are you the manager of a team? You can use this to spark reflection, conversation, and new thinking about the role of problem definition in your team's work

~Are you responsible for building something? You can use this to gauge how well your problem is articulated

~Are you an individual contributor or on a team with other people? You can apply this to your specific problems and/or use it as a general problem-articulation process

Why this?

Sometimes, we do a great job of solving the wrong problem. Sometimes we build things that don't solve problems at all, or, even more frustrating, make the problem worse.

Problem-definition is oftentimes overlooked or hurried in favor of [prematurely] implementing solutions. Urgency culture (along with other dominant culture forces) has created a rush to eliminate problems by way of creating solutions, but solving a problem starts with intimately understanding the true root cause of the problem at hand...and, importantly, the context the problem lives within, the history that underlies it, and the people it affects.

We took a really critical eye to problem-definition, and -- get ready to get meta -- applied our process to the problem with problems. We've developed and tested an equity-centered approach to problem definition, and we're super-excited to share it with you :)!

Ok...then what?

Tbh this course is so important for a person's understanding of the world and their ability to think critically. It's valuable and transformational as a stand-alone course, and also foundational to completing a design cycle using the eXd framework.

Said more simply: learning to understand and define the problem is the first step to creating an effective solution. After all, systems-level equity-related problems are at their core people-problems situated in a context that is often neither visible not well understood. In this way, problem-definition is itself an agent of equity!!

So what will we do?

W o w, in this course we have theory, we have thought experiments, we have rubrics. Dare we say, we have the solution to the problem with your problems ;)

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!!!Coaching alert!!!

A personal touch, tlc, clarification, and encouragement can make all the difference. Inside the course, you'll have the opportunity to purchase one-on-one coaching time in order to maximize your learning and growing and help apply the course content specifically to your situation :)!


Your Instructor


Christine Ortiz
Christine Ortiz

Dr. Christine Ortiz is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for innovation through equity-centered design. She has launched k-12 microschools, consulted for schools in the US and internationally, designed and coached entrepreneurs, coordinated a national competition for innovative school models, and designed and taught graduate-level courses on redesigning schools at the Stanford d.School and Harvard University. Her current venture is Equity Meets Design, a think/do tank merging the consciousness of equity work with the power of design methodologies.

Christine spent her teenage years creating the national Truth tobacco prevention campaign and consulting with states and other countries interested in implementing the model. The first in her family to have a college degree, Christine has a BS from MIT, Masters in Education and Non-Profit Management and a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University. In all her endeavors, she has been motivated to address the barriers innovators face when tackling complex equity-based social issues.


Class Curriculum



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!