The Value of “How Might We”
Challenges are often opportunities in disguise. The “How Might We” method creates an atmosphere for innovative solutions by reframing known challenges that surround your product, service or initiative.
After identifying design challenges through subject matter expert interviews and user research, you are ready to transform these statements into aspirational questions that create a welcoming space for “out of the box” thinking.
Writing “How Might We” notes (or HMWs) is often practiced as a collaborative exercise by teams at the beginning of a project or strategic initiative.
The How Might We Method is a (proven) design thinking activity which has participants simply rephrase known challenges as a question beginning with “How Might We”. Follow the steps below to learn the technique or watch our three-minute video.
Steps to Conduct a “How Might We” Exercise
- Begin by identifying and outlining the insights or pain points you have collected about your current design challenge or new initiative.
- Now, reframe these insights into questions by starting each note with “How might we…”
- While writing your question, ensure to consider the underlying factors that may be driving it – these are often the best way to refine your initial thoughts.
- Write out as many “How Might We” notes as reasonably possible. More “How Might We” questions create more opportunities for solution exploration.
Pro Tip: Remember that your “How Might We” question should not be so broad or narrow. A well-framed “HMW” question will contain the right amount of inspiration for you to quickly start brainstorming potential solutions.
An Example of a Well-Framed How Might We Question
“How might we design a product that makes our users feel confident and secure during their online financial transactions?”
An Example of a How Might We Question that is Too Narrow and Solution Specific
“How might we design a product that helps users deposit their paycheques in three easy steps by using a guided workflow?”
An Example of a How Might We Question that is Too Broad
“How might we design the world’s most innovative banking app?”
- Outlined insights from Subject Matter Experts and user-research
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