How Might We...?

How Might We...?

How Might We... is a way of starting a question to kick-start a discussion. The open-ended, optimistic phrasing is designed to encourage broad thinking. This technique was developed at P&G in the 1970s, and it has been used and promoted extensively by the design company IDEO.

In Detail

This is a useful technique to quickly generate ideas that get to the heart of the problem you're trying to solve. By using the positive starting point, you quickly focus on generating useful, helpful approaches that are more likely to work for your audience.

To use this technique, put the letters HMW at the top of a post-it and then write what you want to achieve. Be careful of coming up with a closed HMW that tries to get to solutions too soon. Keep the language and challenge open.

Example HMWs:

  • How might we create financial services that support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?
  • How might we dramatically reduce waste by transforming our relationship with food?
  • How might we establish better recycling habits at home?

After asking a few HMW questions you may find it useful to ask:

  • Why - to open up the discussion to look at broader reasons
  • What’s stopping us - to get tactical about actions you might take.

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