How Might We statements

How Might We statements

'How Might We' statements help turn insights into opportunities for design.


How... is solution oriented

Might... is optimistic

We... is collaborative

This format is useful because it suggests that a solution is possible and because they offer you the chance to answer them in a variety of ways.


When should 'How Might We' statements be used?

Use How Might We statements when the team is confident with user research analyses and ready to move into the ideation phase.

HMW statements are most effective when used after teams have gathered clear insights and problem statements from user research. This indicates that the team has a solid understanding of the user's needs and is ready to transition into the ideation and brainstorming phase.

Make sure not to rush the Define Stage and take all the necessary time for research and analyses to ensure your insight/problem statements are well-founded and accurate. This, in turn, leads to more effective HMW statements.


How to move from analysis to ideation phase

After the team is confident with the insight statements created, it is time to start phrasing How Might We statements to move into the Ideation phase.

It's important for the team to allocate dedicated time to write meaningful How Might We statements before jumping into ideation. Writing HMW statements that are research-led is crucial to lead the team to generate ideas that solve the root problems identified during research.

Involving the entire team in generating HMW statements can lead to a wider perspective and more diverse set of problem statements to help you generate more and better ideas.

How to start:

  • Look back at the insights and opportunity areas
  • Try rephrasing them as questions by adding “How might we” at the beginning.
  • It should be broad, so there's enough space to generate ideas
Download the 'How Might We' tool


Checklist: How to write good 'How Might We' statements

Start with the Problems (or Insights) You’ve Uncovered

Start by reviewing the problem and/or insight statements generated when analysing the user research findings.

Think about each problem/insight statement individually, address the root cause and try to formulate a How Might We statement that focuses on the root problem. If your How Might We doesn’t focus on the problem identified, it is very likely that the ideas you generate won’t address the root problems and the insights you uncovered.

Problem Residents don't think about social care until they are in crisis
How Might We How might we... support residents to plan for social care needs in the future at key life moments?


Avoid suggesting a solution in your 'How Might We' statement

This is a common mistake that often restricts teams in generating ideas, resulting in fewer ideas gathered. Try to create How Might We statements that are agnostic about any particular solution.

Problem Social care content online is not easy to understand or navigate.
How Might We (poor) How might we...create a website where social care information is easy to understand?
How Might We (better) How might we... make it easier for people to find relevant and easy to understand information about social care?


Keep your 'How Might We' statements broad

When writing 'How Might We' statements ask yourself if you could rewrite them in a broader way? The broader the 'How Might We', the more ideas can be generated.

Problem Social Workers don’t have tools to record and safely store information right after their visits with clients.
How Might We (poor) How might we... provide social workers with recording tools?
How Might We (better) How might we... enable more effective recording for social workers?


Focus you 'How Might We' statements on the desired outcome(s)

To avoid solving symptoms of the problems rather than the root problems themselves, ask yourself whether your 'How Might We' statement focuses on the desired outcome.

Problem People call customer support because they can’t find information online about community grants.
How Might We (poor) How might we... make it easier for people to find information about community grants?
How Might We (better) How might we... make people feel confident that they have all the information they need about community grants?


Phrase you 'How Might We' statements positively

Stating your 'How Might We' statements positively can generate more ideas and also encourage creativity. Avoid using negative verbs like ‘reduce,’ ‘remove,’ ‘prevent,’ ask yourself if you can frame things more positively by using positive action verbs, like ‘increase,’ ‘create,’ ‘enhance,’ ‘promote’ and so on.

Problem People find the benefits application process difficult.
How Might We (poor) How might we make the benefits application process less difficult?
How Might We (better) How might we make the benefits application process more intuitive?


'How Might We' statements Do's and Don'ts

Last Updated: 13 December 2023