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innovation

How Might We Questions

How Might We Questions

By defining themes and insights, you’ve identified problem areas that pose challenges to the people you’re designing for. Now, try reframing your insight statements as How Might We questions to turn those challenges into opportunities for design. We use the How Might We format because it suggests that a solution is possible and because they offer you the chance to answer them in a variety of ways. A properly framed How Might We doesn’t suggest a particular solution, but gives you the perfect frame for innovative thinking.

  1. Step 1:

    Start by looking at the insight /problem statements that you’ve created. Try rephrasing them as questions by adding “How might we” at the beginning.

    Examples:

    Translate your problem statement into a “How might we…” (HMW) question (i.e.: instead of “Our teams are too insular.” write: “How might we better connect our teams with one another?”).

    Do this several times and come up with different HMWs! (“HMW encourage teams to talk with one another?” “HMW get teams in our global organization sharing resources?” Etc.).

  2. Step 2:

    The goal is to find opportunities for design, so if your insights suggest several How Might We questions that’s great.

  3. Step 3:

    Now take a look at your How Might We question and ask yourself if it allows for a variety of solutions. If it doesn’t, broaden it. Your How Might We should generate a number of possible answers and will become a launchpad for your Brainstorms.

  4. Step 4:

    Finally, make sure that your How Might We’s aren’t too broad. It’s a tricky process but a good How Might We should give you both a narrow enough frame to let you know where to start your Brainstorm, but also enough breadth to give you room to explore wild ideas.

    How Might We Questions by IDEO