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How might we? Step 2 in defining the perfect solution for customer problem

You have defined your customer needs, you have put together your problem statement...Now what?

How Might We Method (HMW)

"How might we?" is a great method used in service design and UX design for creating better solutions for customer problems. It's the best starting point for your creativity that sets up the guidelines for the whole process. At the same time, it helps you avoid cliches and trivial solutions, inspires out of the box creativity and true innovation.

It is a technique where you take your core user needs which you uncovered through customer interviews and research and start defining possible lines of thinking about the ways to satisfy it.

HMW explained




​“How” suggests that we do not yet have the answer. “How” helps us set aside prescriptive briefs and explore a variety of endeavors, instead of merely executing on what we “think” the solution might be.

​“Might” emphasizes that our responses are possible solutions, not the only solution. “Might” also allows for exploration of multiple possible solutions, and means we won’t settle for the first idea that comes to mind.

“We” immediately brings in the element of collaboration. “We” reminds us that the idea for the optimal solution will most likely come from collective and collaborative teamwork.

Team up

Ok, if you're a solo founder the "we" part is the most tricky one. Honestly, it's tough to work solo. But it's even harder to come up with the ideas and be the one who provides the feedback on it. If you're thinking of finding a cofounder, I have a tutorial that will help you to get one.

If you have a very strong opinion on working alone (this is also a valid and understandable position), and stumbled upon a creator's block where you can't come up with a great solution, I strongly recommend to team up with someone on this stage. Reach out to friends, get in the Slack group, join Twitter communities — with any means possible try to put together a temporary team that will help you to brainstorm.

To make your brainstorming efficient you have to set up the limits (POV) and guidelines (HMW). You can read more about the Points of view method here. As for the "How might we" technique, I highly recommend using it as well as it is cleverly constructed to open up the field for new ideas, by admitting that we do not currently know the answer to the design challenge and encouraging a collaborative approach to design solutions. Your HMW questions should be broad enough to generate a wide range of solutions during brainstorming, yet narrow enough that specific solutions can be created for them.

The best way to illustrate how HMW works is to give you a real-life example. Let's say the POV is: “Middle aged working moms need to use commuting time purposefully and/ because they suspect this can be a great opportunity to learn something new that will improve their position on the employment market”

What can be the HMW questions?

  1. How might we make 45 minute slots twice a day useful for middle-aged females?

  2. How might we inspire middle-aged females towards using these 45 minutes slots for self-education?

  3. How might we pack self-education for middle-aged females into 45-minutes chunks ?

  4. How might we make sure middle-aged females get the education they need in 45 minutes chunks?

These are simple examples, all with their own subtle nuances that may slightly influence different approaches and techniques in the Ideate phase. Also, if you create these HMW questions beforehand you will get the best out of every brainstorming session and make sure your creative process is very precise and directed.

If you need more information on this subject feel free to contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn (DMs are open) I'm also available on ProductHunt if you prefer this network.
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