To help brainstorm new ideas or address opportunities — How Might We (HMW) statements are short questions based on insights or problem areas found during your research.
When To Run This
- Immediately before Rapid Ideation.
- You want to turn insights, themes or problems areas from your research into opportunities or alternatives.
- You’ve hit a wall, and you need to reframe your current problem to move forward.
30 minutes - 1 hour
- The problem statement
For broad approaches
- A cross-disciplinary team of people, varying in seniority
For lean approaches
- one person who’s fully across the project
- Large print out with HMW template
- Post-it notes or A5/A4 paper
Choose your team (or person, if it’s a lean approach). Make sure that anyone involved understands the user needs, business drivers, commercial opportunities, and be across any research.
Define the problem statement. Decide on what you want to explore, whether it’s a current problem statement, an insight, or theme you’ve gathered from research.
Action It:Action It:
Create HMW statements by reframing your problem statement or insights.
- HMW template: How might we (intended experience) for (primary user) so that (desired effect).
- Example problem statement: Our research showed that kids love getting ice cream from a truck, but on hot days there’s trouble with spillage as kids get back to their families.
- Example of a good HMW statement: How might we redesign the ice-cream buying experience for kids so that it can be more portable and less messy.
- Check your statement isn’t too limiting — a good HMW allows for a variety of solutions. E.g: “How might we create a cone to eat ice cream without dripping” is too narrow.
- Make sure it isn’t too broad — a good HMW helps you come with solutions that have a clear focus. E.g “How might we reimagine dessert” doesn’t focus on the problem that users have.
- You can start with multiple HMWs and decide on the one you want to go forward with.
Make variations of your HMW. As a team, come up with as many as you can and refine these until you have a list which combines both business and user problems, as well as addresses an opportunity.
- It should be human-centered — speak to a real need so that you can brainstorm meaningfully.
- Try not to use boring or safe HMWs as they might lead you in the wrong direction and waste time. For example:
- “How might we redesign our website?”
- “How might we make our app more fun?”
- If you’re having trouble coming up with variations, divide a wall space into 3 sections — business problems, user needs, and opportunities — and ask your team to write the important points into each section.
- 10 - 15 user needs or frustrations that you’d most like to fix or meet.
- 10 - 15 interesting business opportunities or insights.
- Once all sections are filled, pick a point from each to create your new HMWs, keeping the main HMW statement in mind.
It's Going Well When:
- Each team member is contributing
- Team members feel inspired by the HMWs
- You get a few wild and far-fetched ideas during brainstorming
- The brainstorm feels focused and meaningful
Watch Out For:
- HMWs that are too broad or narrow
- Safe or boring HMWs
- HMWs that don’t spark ideas - this is a sign that it might be too narrow or broad