Revolutionize Ideation with “How Might We?” Exercise

In the realm of design thinking, a powerful tool emerges to transform challenges into opportunities: the “How Might We?” exercise. This exercise becomes a beacon guiding designers through the labyrinth of problems, ushering them into the realm of innovative solutions. Let’s dissect this exercise to understand its essence.

Decoding “How Might We?”

The exercise’s name itself is laden with meaning. “How” beckons us to explore a plethora of ideas, rejecting the notion of a singular solution. It champions curiosity, inviting us to traverse the landscape of possibilities. The term “might” lends wings to these ideas, emphasizing that each concept is a potential solution, not the sole one. It embodies the essence of creativity and innovation. Furthermore, the inclusion of “we” underscores collaboration – the ultimate tool to tackle complex problems.

Unfurling the Design Canvas: Olivia’s Quest

Recall Olivia’s predicament – a parent yearning to cycle with her 2-year-old, Luca, who can’t yet pedal independently. The “How Might We?” exercise was employed to find a solution. We set out to generate numerous ideas to address Olivia’s need. Yet, there’s room for more. Let’s engage in this exercise again to unearth more solutions.

Chiseling the Question: Sculpting Precision with Room for Innovation

In the quest to craft a child-friendly bicycle seat for tandem rides, the process begins by formulating a “How Might We?” question. At first, we tread the path of specificity, asking, “How might we design a safe, forward-facing seat that attaches to an adult’s bicycle, catering to a child’s comfort during a mountain trail ride?” Aiming to strike a balance between specificity and room for innovation, we adjust the question: “How might we design a safe and comfortable seat for a child to ride alongside an adult?” This is the perfect balance. It hones in on the user’s needs yet leaves the door wide open for groundbreaking solutions.

Crafting “How Might We?” Questions: The Art of Reframing

Generating these questions requires finesse. Stanford University’s Design School offers a palette of techniques:

  1. Amplify the Good: “How might we create a traveling experience for a parent and child to cherish?”
  2. Explore the Opposite: “How might we fashion a bike for a 2-year-old to ride with an adult?”
  3. Challenge the Status Quo: “How might we enhance public transportation options, providing alternatives beyond biking?”
  4. Deconstruct the Problem: “How might we ensure a 2-year-old’s comfort while cycling?” or “How might we simplify point-to-point travel?”

Embrace the Horizon of Ideation: Evolving Beyond

While “How Might We?” questions are a potent weapon in the ideation arsenal, they aren’t the sole approach. Designers may uncover exercises that better resonate with their teams. It’s an evolving journey, seeking to reframe user needs and pave paths toward innovation.

In summation, the “How Might We?” exercise isn’t just a methodology; it’s an outlook. It crafts a channel between problems and solutions, fostering creativity and collaboration. It unearths latent opportunities, etching the path for transformative design. As you embark on this journey, remember that each question you pose is a voyage into uncharted territories, brimming with potential and possibility.