x close

Want full & instant access to shape?

To access the full benefits of shape you need to register for FREE

Register NowAlready registered? Log in here

Welcome to the Shape online resource. This is a quick guide to the features and unique navigation of Shape

Show me how to use Shape Skip
x close

Want full & instant access to shape?

To access the full benefits of shape you need to register for FREE

Register NowAlready registered? Log in here
x close Shape - Better Services

Scope & Frame

The SCOPE & FRAME stage will help you examine your challenge, identify the stakeholders, resources, context and potential barriers, and then qualify the objectives that you are working towards. During this stage, it’s a good idea to define a set of clear success indicators that you can use as a benchmark to measure your progress and outcomes against.


Complete the worksheet online or download it to your desktop or project map.

Download Worksheet | Complete Online


You are undertaking a challenge, which means you have a good understanding of your desired outcome. The Scope & Frame, Generate, Analyse and Propose stages will help you break down your challenge into manageable sections before continuing, then the stages from Identify to Report will guide you on carrying them out.

In this stage we will look at:

  • Outcome
  • Success indicators
  • Current situation
  • Contributors and influencers
  • Resources


First, make sure you are clear on why you are undertaking your challenge. If you can’t answer these questions, you’re not ready:

  • What is the problem I am trying to solve?
  • Whose problem is it?
  • Who is asking me to solve it?
  • Who will benefit from the solution?


Start your challenge by clearly defining its overall aim without exploring solutions. This should be a single sentence starting ‘The aim of <Challenge Title>  is to…’

> SMART (available in the tools menu) is a project management tool that helps you set out the five key features of an objective.

  • Specific – What are you improving or changing?
  • Measurable – To what extent are you improving or changing it?
  • Attainable – Who can carry out the task successfully?
  • Realistic – What resources are available (money/time/technology)?
  • Timely – When do you plan to have achieved your aim (time or another measurable objective)?

You can define your aim based on your responses to SMART. Make sure you include at least ‘what’ (Specific), ‘to what extent’ (Measurable) and ‘when’ (Timely)

Example: Good and bad aims

1. “The aim of our challenge is to reduce cost.”
Bad: no SMART measures included.

2. “The aim of our challenge is to enable Umbria council to reduce the cost of waste collection in Umbria by €200,000 by 2020 by reviewing the available vehicles.”
Better: includes what, to what extent, who and when, but it is weakened by including a solution that limits the scope of the challenge.

3. “The aim of our challenge is to enable Umbria council to reduce the cost of waste collection services in Umbria by €200.000 by 2020.”
Good: includes what, to what extent, who and when, without introducing potential solutions.

Success indicators

Once you have defined your aim, you can work towards identifying the completion point of your challenge. To do this you need to define what a successful result looks like and how you’ll know when you’ve reached it. Common completion points are:

  • A moment in time (e.g. by 2020)
    This can result in failure to achieve your aim because you run out of time, or notice if you achieve it early.
  • Achieving a deliverable (e.g. when waste collection costs are reduced by €200,000) This can delay the end of your challenge.
  • A combination of both time and deliverables
    This is usually the best approach, because you will need to regularly measure the impact of your challenge.

To measure a result you first need to agree on a set of success indicators (also called key performance indicators or KPIs).

Success indicators can be a number of features that are measured in different ways:

  • Financially (e.g. savings, improved financial performance)
  • User satisfaction/reduced negative impacts (e.g. complaints, waiting lists)
  • Changed behaviour (e.g. shift from physical to web-based interactions)
  • A new service, product or interaction that addresses a need
  • A change in approach that benefits a wider audience

Public service measures can change annually, so try to align your success indicators with relevant available data and be prepared for some of them to change before the end of your challenge.

You need to agree your success indicators and measure your challenge results against them qualitatively and quantitatively. At this stage you should develop a metric and measuring format so that your assessment at the Test stage is in line with your success indicators.

Current situation

Once you’ve defined your challenge aim and success indicators, you can use them to examine the current situation and plot your starting point.

You won’t be able to directly measure all your success indicators, but you can scale figures using assumptions and deductions from data.

The more measurements you start with, the better your final measurement of the challenge results and Return on Investment (ROI) will be at the Report stage.

For example:
If you are aiming to reduce CO2 output in a local council, you could examine local data on:
– Types of transport
– Industry
– Housing

If you are aiming to reduce youth obesity in a local council you could examine local data on:
– Sports facilities
– Welfare programmes
– Educational programmes

Note: These are just starting points – your data will need to be more detailed!

This is also the right time to identify other projects and research in the same field at local, regional, national and/or international levels. Other public organisations, NGOs or commercial organisations might also have valuable data for your challenge. For example, a private healthcare provider could have useful data for a public healthcare project.

Stakeholders, contributors and influencers

  • Stakeholders are people that have an identified interest in your challenge. They might also be contributors, they might be users or they might be observers.
  • Contributors are people that contribute to the current situation
  • Influencers are themes, trends, opinions etc within the current social context that influence the contributors

At this point it’s useful to allocate a space to map stakeholders, contributors and influencers. This will be your challenge wall, which you’ll work on throughout the Generate and Analyse stages, so choose a space where you can leave your materials undisturbed. You might use:
• Sticky notes on a wall
• A whiteboard
• Flipcharts
• A4 print outs from your computer

Mapping all the contributors and influencers to the current situation is a scoping exercise that will help you to identify the source(s) of the problem you are aiming to solve. Including the stakeholders will start to identify both the beneficiaries of your challenge and the people you need to involve and inform as you progress.

You can use a Mind map technique to help with this (available in the tools menu).

The purpose of the activity is to create an overview of the situation and all factors involved. By mapping all the stakeholders you’re less likely to overlook influencers that could potentially create unexpected disruption.

Start by considering these contributors for analysis:

  • Expected service-users
  • Local and central service providers
  • Local/regional/national authorities and providers of affiliated services
  • Lobbying organisations
  • Non governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • Local, regional and national politicians
  • Representatives of the media and public relations

There’s not one general list of factors that suits all contexts, but remember, no task exists in isolation.

Consider the aims of your challenge in relation to the list of influencers and contextual factors below and add relevant contributors and influencers to your map.

  • Trends and megatrends
  • Timing – will your challenge coincide with changes in the organisation/reforms/elections etc.?
  • Are there other projects/challenges in your/other organisation(s) that could positively or negatively influence your challenge planning?
  • Could your challenge benefit from similarities with other projects/challenges in your organisation?
  • Political agendas – does your challenge fall within an area of political awareness? Could this have an affect?
  • Does your challenge fall within an area of interest for the media/press?
  • Does your challenge support or oppose current public domain issues? Could this have a positive or negative effect?
  • Could legislative issues, permissions or other formalities influence your challenge’s progress?
  • Are there environmental or social issues that could influence your challenge?

It’s a good idea to appoint an internal or external facilitator for the mapping exercise. The ‘Facilitator criteria tool’ has a list of criteria that will help you choose the right person. If there is no one in your organisation for this role you can look for a management consultant/specialist or a design specialist/director.

> The ‘7 Tips on Better Brainstorming tool’ by IDEO can help you improve your mind mapping

In Shape, we’ve broken down the factors contributing to the current situation twice, contributors and then influencers. You can break down each of the contributing factors as far as you need to, but do not explore any potential solution(s) yet.

Top tip

You can contract a supplier to analyse contributors and influencers, but you should take part in the exercise, as you are likely to know more about the sector and the problem at hand.

Your challenge wall should now look something like this:


Before progressing to the creative stage you need to identify the resources available for your challenge. Depending on its scope, size and character, you usually will need a balance of:

  • Human resources (competences/skills)
  • Financial resources (budget)
  • Technological resources

It’s useful to outline the human resources available within your organisation to work on your challenge before deciding on your approach. Consider people at different levels of seniority and experience to create a team that would work well together.

Identify the approximate budget available for your challenge. You can look to:
• The local council or municipality; find out what their budget is for the initiative
• Other geographical areas; map out the problem and propose that your initiative could be the solution for the wider region or even nationally
• Private/charitable foundations that may have grants for co-funded public innovation initiatives

Make sure you are aware of the spread of the budget across the whole challenge. It’s likely that only part of the budget is available for creative development.

If relevant, you should also analyse technological availability and relevance at this stage. Consider elements such as:

  • Internal web development resource
  • Server capacity
  • Software licensing
  • Mobile technology
  • Phone lines and headphones

If you are planning to adopt technology that is already in use in another sector, ensure it is scalable to meet the demand your opportunity might face. You should also consider whether new technology would require your users to change their habits or make a personal investment. For example, will they need a smartphone to access your service?

Case Study

Project Title

Breastfeeding Initiation Programme


National Health Service NHS, UK

Design Suppliers

The Hub, Bristol, United Kingdom

Launch Date

March 2008

Breastfeeding promotion has a key role to play in tackling a range of health, social, economic and environmental issues. Even though it is widely known that breastfeeding is beneficial for a baby's development, babies from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be breastfed. Be A Star is a social marketing campaign that promotes breastfeeding amongst young women (ages 15-25) by celebrating mothers that breastfeed as 'stars'.

View all Case Studies and Tools
Read More
Not sure how to use Shape? Use our tutorial
Co-funded by the European Commission