The first stage of the Invent-Apply-Transition framework involves moving through scaling activities that explore and define a problem of practice or need and imagine a solution. The ultimate goal of the Invent stage is to design a solution that addresses authentic end-user needs, is informed by research, and is on the path to reaching product-user fit.
In the Invent stage, you formulate a deep understanding of the perceived problem of practice or need by exploring and empathizing with the experiences, emotions, and motivations of the community for whom and with whom you are designing the product. This results in a needs hypothesis, which you validate throughout the design process. You then define the indicators that you expect to see if you successfully address the need. You can then use creative courage to imagine a solution and create a prototype to test your ideas. Prior research and theory is a source of inspiration and guidance throughout this process.
The key activities in the invent stage are iterative and may be nonlinear. You may need to go back to the drawing board many times to make sure your prototype meets the needs of your end users and their community in new and engaging ways.