Art Poskanzer, CC-BY 2.0

The 5 whys method helps to uncover a potential root cause to any surface level problem. The method provides a structured approach for repeatedly asking ‘why’ in order to provide deeper insight into the given problem. Originally developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation, this iterative method was first deployed to discover root cause analysis issues in manufacturing. Despite its engineering foundations, 5 whys is a popular design method used to identify any assumptions made and gain a deeper level understanding of a problem situation. The aim of continual questioning is to ensure that the right problem is examined and made central to the design process.

Continued on pages 18–19 of Design. Think. Make. Break. Repeat.