“How might we…?” Method

Jul 25, 2021 | Digital

“How might we…?” as Game Changer

It can be challenging to ask the right questions when brainstorming new ideas, features, and business models or solve the correct problems that really matter to enterprises.

The How might we…? methodology is a simple solution to ask the right questions. For instance, Google, Facebook, and IDEO use it to accelerate their creativity within the problem-solution process.

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The Origin – How might we…?

The method was initially developed by Procter and Gamble. In the 1970s, the company faced the challenge of developing a competitive product to Colgate-Palmolive‘s newly released “Irish Soap” (a soap that was featured with a deodorizing green stripe). The business consultant Min Basadur was asked to help the P&G team generate fresh ideas. To do this, he asked the team to replace the previous question, “How can we make a better green stripe bar?” with “How might we be making a more refreshing soap of our own?”

“Coast” – What the coast has to do with soap?

The brainstorming ended with the thought that the feeling of refreshment is often associated with the seashore. This evolved into the very successful soap brand “Coast” (with a blue striped bar). 

Ideas like rockets on New Year’s Eve – Why and how with “How might we…?”

The right “How might we…?” questions are the spark to ignite fireworks of ideas. Create a glowing spark to develop a wide range of solutions for the teams’ perspective but narrow enough to give them helpful guidelines. Like the P&G example, “Power “How might we create a better green strip bar?” is too narrow, and “How might we revolutionize the soap industry?” is too broad. So the properly narrowed question might be, “How might we make more refreshing soap?”.

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How to begin?

To generate “How might we…?” questions, start with a point of view or problem statement within a given challenge. Next, look at each word in the challenge. Next, try to brainstorm “How might we…?” questions. Only then will you come up with solutions.

For example: 

Challenge: Redesign the ground experience at the local international airport. 

Point of View: Harriet, mother of three, rushing through the airport only to wait for hours at the gate, needs to entertain her playful children because “annoying little brats” only irritate already frustrated fellow travelers. 

  • Reinforce the good: “How might we…” use the kids’ energy to entertain fellow travelers? 
  • Remove bad: “How might we…” separate the children from fellow travelers? 
  • Explore the opposite: “How might we…” make the waiting time the most exciting part of the trip? 
  • Ask a conjecture: “How might we…” completely eliminate waiting time at the airport? 
  • Explore adjectives: “How might we…” make the rush refreshing instead of distressing? 
  • Identify unexpected resources: “How might we…” use fellow travelers’ free time to share the load? 
  • Create an analogy from need or context: “How might we…” make the airport a spa? How to make it a playground? 
  • Play POV against the challenge: “How might we…” make the airport a place kids want to visit? 
  • Change a status quo: “How might we…” make playful, loud kids less annoying? 
  • Break POV into pieces: “How might we…” Entertain children? “How might we…” slow down a mom? 

Where do we go from here?

After the team brainstorms the “How might we…” questions, the next step is to organize them into groups and cluster them. Following this step, the team can vote with points for the most promising “How might we…” questions. 

Congratulations! Now it’s time to brainstorm solutions again. Be creative and focus on the prioritized “How might we…” questions. 

Advantages of working with Tagueri 

At Tagueri, we are experts at solving challenges in a variety of fields. Our cross-industry experience enables us to explore the right questions and methods for your challenges. For example, we can support you with: 

– setting up the team and project environment for your challenges. 

– planing and facilitating “How might we…?” workshops and help your team focus on the crucial things, 

– best practices and policies that help your team get things right

– supporting the team during stakeholder presentations.

 

Do you also ask yourself how you might solve your problems and challenges? Then, let us help you find out! Contact us today. 

tagueri Mitarbeiter - digital transformation consultant

Written by:

Andreas Geiger

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