The “How Might We” or HMW tool is used by designers to capture opportunities during lightning talks and throughout the fuzzy front end. This tool allows designers to take the various insights and then align them with the company-client, and ultimately positively reframe them. The reframing will lead to the definition of HMWs statement – active framework for resolving the challenges.

‘How might we…’ questions are helpful for moving from conclusions or challenges to new ideas and possibilities. With a HMW question designers simply articulate what they would like to find answers or solutions to.


1.START: Define the focus of what you are interested in by moving from POVs to the HMW statement.

2.IDENTIFY: Define the criteria and select suitable participants for the workshop.

3.PREPARE: Organize a meeting with the selected participants, and gather the necessary resources and supplies. Think about what expectations will be set up-front, how you will start and end the workshop, and how much time participants are expected to dedicate to this activity.

4.CONDUCT: Ask each participant to fill up to 5 HMW templates per POV. Do not spend a lot of time crafting or perfecting HMW statements. 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 service design is about teamwork and building on each others’ ideas

Then, use Quick Voting tool to reduce the amount of HMW statements to a handful, and eventually to one HMW statement.

5.REPORT: Write up your key outcomes from this exercise – the HMW statement.

PREPARATION: up to 15 minutes
DURATION: 30 minutes
FACILITATORS: 1 per workshop
RESOURCES: Research data, POV template (paper-based or digital), pens, Post-its
PARTICIPANTS: 4–12, design team, partners, community members, etc.