Molecule Map


What is this method?

Quickly generate many possible solutions after identifying who the user is and what problem they have.

Why do it?

Ideating using Molecule Maps helps team members to understand that there are multiple possible solutions to a user’s need, and that solutions are best understood alongside their relationship to these users and needs.

When to do it?

Once you know who your user is and what problems you are trying to solve.

Facilitator Directions

Step 1: Create Molecule Maps (30 min)

  • As a group, review the three elements of the molecule: Persona: Who are we helping? Problem: What is one of their problems? Solution: What is our solution?

  • Either have everyone work on this by themselves or break out into groups of six. Come up with as many solutions as possible. Remind people that they can do more or less than the six as they see fit.

Step 2: Finalize Molecule Map (15 min)

  • Have the group read silently through all the molecules and then dot vote with the stars to get down to one molecule (don't use more than three dots per person).

  • Discuss the one with the most votes. If there's a tie, discuss them and decide as a group which one to pick. Put the chosen molecule into the frame above.

Success/Expected Outcomes

Success is when you have agreement on the problem and solution (aka, snapshot) to move forward with as a team. You’re doing it right when you're thinking of users as humans.


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VMware Tanzu Labs
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VMware Tanzu Labs works with organizations worldwide to accelerate the delivery of software and modernize legacy apps, while reducing operating costs and risk.

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