Discover phase – research activities

I wanted to ask for advice regarding discovery activities you have used when creating a brand new solution to address a problem. Long story short: I am trying to address an issue with a lack of content-sharing within a community of institutions. Right now, each individual institution has their own way of storing content; but there’s no simple or easy way to share information with other institutions. For multiple reasons: people don’t want to give away their ideas, it’s too much work to store it in multiple areas, etc.

Ideas involve creating a platform that instritutions can share and add their content. However, I’m not sure if this is the right solution.

Normally, for these sorts of projects I identify potential user groups, start interviewing people to understand the current state of things and create a journey map & personas. However; there isn’t really anything that currently “exists”. Normally I will create “current state” journey map and a potential “future state” journey map.

Would you guys have any thoughts or ideas on research activities I can start with?