The “How Might We” or HMW method is an essential Design Sprint methodology. At Google, we use it to capture opportunities during lightning talks and throughout the Understand phase. This method allows your team to take the insights and pain points they hear and positively reframe them. HMWs create an active framework for resolving the challenges.
It’s important to explain to your team how the HMW process works before Lightning Talks begin. Make sure the team understands they are looking for opportunities rather than solutions. Each word of the HMW phrase puts team members in the right mindset:
- “How” guides team members to believe the answer is out there.
- “Might” lets team members know their HMW statement might or might not work, and either possibility is okay
- “We” reminds team members that the Design Sprint is about teamwork and building on each others’ ideas
- Start by looking at the insight statements that you’ve created. Try rephrasing them as questions by adding “How might we” at the beginning.
- The goal is to find opportunities for design, so if your insights suggest several How Might We questions that’s great.
- Now take a look at your How Might We question and ask yourself if it allows for a variety of solutions. If it doesn’t, broaden it. Your How Might We should generate a number of possible answers and will become a launchpad for your Brainstorms.
- Finally, make sure that your How Might We’s aren’t too broad. It’s a tricky process but a good How Might We should give you both a narrow enough frame to let you know where to start your Brainstorm, but also enough breadth to give you room to explore wild ideas.