Harnessing the power of problem analysis

The Problem Lab identifies and understands important problems to create innovations with disruptive economic and social consequence. We help established organizations, newly created ventures, and aspiring entrepreneurs recognize obstacles.


Are you interested in entrepreneurship, a problem, or developing your research and analysis skills? Learn how to examine a problem from many different perspectives at an event, workshop, or competition. 

External partners

Businesses, non-profit organizations, charities, and public agencies seek our assistance with problem analysis. Faculty and staff can conduct the analysis, supervise a student team to do so, or help partners create their own analyses.

  1. May 4, 2019Applications are open for the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch competitionQuantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch competition.

    Beginning May 6, teams of up to four students are invited to choose an important industry problem and thoroughly research its history, scope, and impact. Students pitch their findings to a panel of judges to compete for a share of up to $30,000 in grant funding. Teams with the best understanding of an important problem will receive $5,000 to research and develop a solution to the identified problem. 

  2. Apr. 9, 2018Problem Lab receives $100,000 contribution from Cisco CanadaCISCO announces contribution.

    The Problem Lab gratefully acknowledges the $100,000 contribution from Cisco to conduct work on the important business problems faced by Cisco's customers.

    Original press release

  3. Feb. 9, 2018University of Waterloo creates Canada’s first problem lab

    The University of Waterloo is launching a new program to help students with the first step of entrepreneurial innovation — the identification and definition of an important consumer, industrial, economic or technical problem.

    The Problem Lab will be spearheaded by Waterloo economics professor Larry Smith, and is made possible by $300,000 in seed funding from Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, principals of Quantum Valley Investments® and founders of Blackberry.

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