How Might We questions (Explanation & Examples)
Do you feel stuck in a rut? Asking the same questions but not making progress? Then it's time for How Might We (HMW) questions! HMW questions help you reframe the problem into something that you can solve with your team.
What are "How Might We" questions?
HMW questions are a method to reframe problems into something that you can solve creatively.
(Don't worry if you don't feel creative. This format helps you to get the creativity flowing in even the most uninspiring and uncreative situations.)
They are questions that focus on the potential solutions, rather than why it is a problem. By using How Might We questions, you can get everyone in your team to think differently and come up with creative ideas to solve the issue at hand.
Here are some examples of How Might We questions:
- How Might We have less work in progress and improve our outcomes?
- How Might We reduce our carbon footprint by half in the next five years?
- How Might We make it easier for customers to purchase our products?
By asking How Might We questions, you can get the whole team engaged and working towards a common goal. They are also great for generating new ideas and finding innovative solutions. HMW questions are a powerful way to solve problems together and can help you make progress on any challenge.
The three words in HMW are carefully chosen:
- How - It's possible to solve this.
- Might - We are exploring options.
- We - Teamwork will produce the best results.
How to write HMWs
- Write down the problem you want to solve.
- Reframe that problem, by starting with "How might we ...?".
That's it. But not every HMW is equal.
This is a template that helps you write better HMWs:
HMW + action + subject + outcome?
Let's have a look at some bad vs good examples below.
Bad vs Good HMW examples
Don't make your HMW too broad, slice it down where possible:
Find the right balance between being too broad and too specific, to set yourself up for success:
7 ways to reframe a problem using HMWs
Using different angles when reframing your HMWs, can help you get even more creative.
Here are 7 different ways of reframing a HMW:
- Boost the positive.
- Inspect the opposite.
- Slice the problems.
- Question assumptions.
- Break the status quo.
- Create an analogy.
- Identify unexpected help.
And this is how you can use those seven lenses to reframe a problem:
Now you have seven different ways of looking at your problem. Pick the HMW question that you find most interesting and start problem-solving!
Getting creative and innovative is about asking the right questions.
So the next time you feel stuck in a rut, turn to How Might We questions for inspiration! Download our free HMW workshop template to get started.
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