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 offers 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 findings gathered, 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 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 come up with 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

  • Focus on the problems (or Insights) identified during research

Start by reviewing the problem and/or insights generated when analysing the user research .

Think about each problem/insight statement individually and try to formulate a How Might We statement that focuses on the root problem identified during research.


  • Try not to suggest a solution in your How Might We statement

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


  • Keep your How Might We statements broad while focusing on the problem identified

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


  • Focus your 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 HMW statement focuses on the desired outcome.


  • Phrase your How Might We statements positively

Stating your HMW 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.


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

Last Updated: 15 March 2024