Unpacking a Problem Scenario

Unpacking a Problem Scenario


Always seek to unpack the scenario in a Basho or Group.

Elect a scribe and have them take notes.


Here’s how you can break down a problem scenario in the context of PBL, like so:

Understand the Scenario:
  • Read and re-read carefully: Start by reading the scenario carefully. Try to more fully understand the context, the people involved, and any constraints or limitations mentioned.
  • Identify the “Problem”: Determine the central issue, challenge or “problem” that may need to be solved. Clearly define what it is that needs to be addressed here.
Unpack the Scenario:
  • Identify the Factors: Break down the problem into its components. Identify the different variables, people, systems, or factors that are relevant to the problem.
  • Determine cause(s): Does the scenario have a “cause” or multiple origins? What different factors may have led to the emergence of the scenario?
  • Consider Perspectives: Think about the scenario from various perspectives. How might different stakeholders or artists/scholars with different methods view the problem differently?
Speculate, Generate Hypotheses:
  • Brainstorm Solutions: Encourage creative thinking in your Basho.
  • Generate multiple possible approaches that relate to the scenario.
  • Consider Alternatives: Think about different approaches to “solving” the scenario. What are the pros and cons of each approach?


Don’t judge ideas at this stage; just let the ideas flow.

Write them down and map them out.

When you are finished, take a picture of your Basho’s mind map and post it where your group can all see it.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Neil Mulholland 2023