Unleashing Creativity: The Power of “How Might We?” Exercise in Ideation

When the canvas of innovation beckons, the “How Might We?” exercise emerges as a guiding star, leading the way through the boundless realm of creativity. This exercise, a cornerstone of design thinking, empowers designers to metamorphose challenges into design opportunities. Let’s embark on a journey to unravel the essence of this exercise and its transformative potential.

Decoding “How Might We?”

The very name of the exercise is pregnant with significance. The “How” ignites a spark of curiosity, beckoning us to traverse a landscape of ideas rather than settling for a single solution. It signifies a quest for answers, a path yet to be tread. “Might” introduces an element of possibility, emphasizing that the ideas we generate are potential solutions, not the sole answer. It breathes life into innovation. The inclusion of “We” underscores the spirit of collaboration, reminding us that creativity thrives in teams.

Illuminating Design Vistas: A Journey with “How Might We?”

Imagine a scenario where Olivia, a parent, yearns to cycle alongside her 2-year-old, Luca, who hasn’t yet mastered pedaling. To navigate this challenge, the “How Might We?” exercise is deployed, guiding us to unearth a multitude of solutions. In this exercise, a series of questions bearing the prefix “How might we” are crafted. These questions serve as the tinder to ignite a blaze of innovative solutions.

Sculpting the Question: Precision with Room to Soar

Crafting these questions demands finesse. Armed with a well-defined problem statement, designers embark on a journey of reframing. Let’s revisit the tips from Stanford University’s Design School, which offer various angles for reframing:

  1. Harness the Positive: How might we transform ticket tracking into a delightful competition among friends?
  2. Explore the Opposite: How might we engineer a way to lose tickets?
  3. Challenge the Norm: How might we fashion a non-paper concert ticket?
  4. Segment the Problem: How might we enhance ticket security for the customer? How might we simplify lost ticket management for security teams?
  5. Reverse the Negative: How might we create stress-free entry to the concert venue for ticket holders?
  6. Shift Paradigms: How might we revolutionize concert entry security, removing the need for checks?
  7. Analogize Experiences: How might we infuse the security checkpoint with the excitement of a video game?
  8. Invoke Unconventional Resources: How might facial recognition software streamline concert entry management?

Crafting Inspiring HMWs: A Realm of Exploration

The ideation canvas is vast, and the “How Might We?” questions are its brushstrokes. But mastery requires practice. Best practices illuminate the path:

  1. Broadness with Nuance: Craft questions that invite multiple solutions. For instance, “How might we make keeping track of tickets fun and competitive?” offers a kaleidoscope of answers.
  2. Precision without Constraint: Strike a balance between comprehensiveness and focus. An overly broad question like “How might we make ticketing better?” dilutes the ideation process.
  3. Iterate and Innovate: Refine your questions as needed. If they don’t resonate, reshape them. Flexibility is your ally.
  4. Embark on Creativity: “How Might We?” questions thrive on imagination and innovation. The tips from Stanford offer a treasure trove of creativity.
  5. Quantity Spurs Quality: Generate a multitude of questions. Each question seeds a cluster of ideas.

“How Might We?” and Ideation: A Dance of Innovation

As the ideation phase dawns, “How Might We?” questions unfurl like petals, revealing the diverse array of potential solutions. They pave the path for creativity, fostering collaboration and innovation. Though not a mandatory exercise, it breathes life into the design journey, nudging us to scribble sketches of possibility and carve pathways to innovation.