How to get started with big problems?
Well, you need to break them down into smaller ones. A great way to do this is with scenarios. Here’s the idea:
1. Choose a person that will be playing the main role in the story. This could be you or any person who’s relation to the problem you know well enough.
2. Put your character into action. Write up or draw a story of your character exposing him or her to as many aspects of the problem as possible. A good way to get a story going is by choosing something with a beginning and an end. For example “A day in the life of x”, or a bit smaller: “Traveling to work.” Really get into the details of things, like this: “Peter enters the Metro, trying to see if there are any relevant announcements for him. Approaching the gate he’s got problems finding his tickets. People behind him are pushing. How he hates to cause a jam. Finally he got his ticket and puts it into the slot. Oh man, wrong side up – again he puts it in. This time it works.” As you can see I’m trying to come up with as many problems that might occur as possible. You can actually do this for a looong time.
3. Select the problems you want to work on. Rewrite your story concentrating on the problems and situations you think you can tackle best or that are most relevant.
Now you have to things: a) a repository of problems in the context of where they happen and when. b) a first problem scenario that will help you coming up with the solution and making decisions on features etc and that you can use to describe your idea!