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Painstorming Best Practices

Painstorming is a method that is used to discover the real factors that underlie new opportunities for an organization. More specifically, Painstorming is a more targeted form of brainstorming that allows the innovation team to critically think about the ails or problems facing an industry, the business climate, the client base, or a particular product or service. Following which, the team should generate feasible solutions for those significant issues. Through the process of Painstorming, the team seeks to systematically uncover the pain points of the customer experience with the product or service being offered.

More about Painstorming

Description of Painstorming

When engaging in the Painstorming process, encourage your team to think about solvable problems rather than producing creative “solutions” to problems that, even when solved, do not provide any real benefits to the customers, the organization or the industry as a whole. The best things to consider when painstorming are where resources are being misused or used in an unproductive manner, what new settings or markets can be used, customer complaints or suggestions for improvement, and any product features that are causing customer support issues.


Painstorming requires four steps that should be carried out in the following order:


Step 1: Define Customer Problems. Ultimately, the problems the team is aiming to solve should surround how to improve issues most important to the customer. Therefore, think critically about what innovations would be most appealing to the clientele the organization serves.


Step 2: Identify the Activity. Consider what types of interests and projects that the customers engage in everyday and how the innovative product or service can aid them in carrying out these tasks.


Step 3: Identify Insights. Appraise what procedures, tasks and devices are currently being used to assist the customers in carrying out their activities. Then, establish what customers are doing to get around the way these aids “should” be used.


Step 4: Identify Needs. Think about why it is that customers are using these processes and devices differently than intended. In other words, what is the root cause of their “pain.” To make this determination, consider what customer needs are being unmet by the status quo, what problems they have with the current situation and what customers really want out of the products or services they are purchasing. Additionally, think about what strategies customers are enacting to get around the features of current products or services that they are dissatisfied with.


After all of these factors have been given sufficient thought, it is advisable to create customer focus groups to ensure that the answers that were generated are correct. Answers that were not thought of by the team should be incorporated in order to create an innovative idea that address all customers concerns and needs.

Praxie's Online Painstorming Tools & Templates

Unlike most traditional Painstorming techniques, Praxie’s online Painstorming software collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms.

Painstorming requires listing and categorizing issues. Therefore, in order to painstorm successfully, the team will need to use tools and templates to keep track of ideas. Get started with our Painstorming template. 

How to use it:

  1. To define your target customer, list the following: activities they do, insights you have about these activities, and the needs they have.  
  2. Then identify the top needs or pain points that span all these activities.  
  3. Use this information to identify new opportunities to serve customers. 

Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.