Workshop activity 4: Interview with Company


The company will have provided a problem sheet beforehand, but it is helpful to hear the problem first hand and in their own words from the representative. An interview gives the opportunity to clarify, to expand and to probe. It offers a chance to better understand the nature of the problem and look at it from different perspectives.

It also shows that the problem is a human one with a real person experiencing it. The story behind the problem and its effect(s) are often important. 

What you need


  • Slide with company name and an image of products or physical example products
  • Problem sheets for each table (with an annotation section)


  • 1 representative of company
  • 1 interviewer

Time: 20 min


  1. Interviewer asks teams to makes notes during the interview of 5W1H:

    1. Who has the problem and who is affected by the problem.

    2. When the problem occurs and when not.

    3. Where the problem comes to the fore.

    4. What the problem is and if there are related problems.

    5. Why the problem exists.

    6. How the problem arises, and how it has been addressed before, if at all.

  2. The interviewer asks the company representative (problem owner) to introduce the company. Tell about its history, what they do, where they are located, how many staff they have, their culture, etc. 

  3. Then the company is asked to explain the problem in their own words.

  4. Depending on the depth of answer, interviewer probes the company rep on the 5W1H questions above.

  5. Ask the problem owner to summarise the core problem in one sentence at the end.

  6. The floor is opened for questions the participants have for the problem owner.


a reflective account from Georgy on interviewing engineers would be good?

Associated teacher activity

In turns, take the role of a problem owner and interviewee. The first problem owner shares a problem they have observed, for example at their place of work.

Another peer will be the interviewer who applies the method to the problem description by the problem owner.

After the interview, peers and trainers discuss.

Advanced activity

Add a ‘Problem Interview’ section to each of your problems in your Bank of Problems. Include:

  • Outline of the problem from the interview
  • The story of the problem
  • What differences and similarities there were between the two
  • The type of questions students asked about the problem

Last modified: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020, 15:12