Define phase & ⭐️ Ideate phase

What does HMW mean

“How might we” (HMW) questions are short questions that launch ideation. They’re broad enough to include a wide range of solutions but narrow enough to impose helpful boundaries. 

Between the too narrow “HMW create an ice cream cone that doesn’t drip” and the too broad “HMW redesign dessert”, is the properly scoped “HMW redesign ice cream to be more portable.” 

Design guidelines, also known as design directives, are written statements that articulate a strategy for how you will solve your design challenge, independent of a specific solution. They translate your findings—user needs and insights— into actionable design directives.

How to write “how might we” (HMW) questions

Start with your design challenge and Point of View statement.

Then break down the larger challenge into smaller actionable bits and ask questions that open up the solution space.


Redesign the airport waiting space.

Point of View

A frenzied mother of three rushes to her gate to find out her flight is delayed. She has to entertain her playful children to avoid irritating already-frustrated fellow passengers.

How Might We

Alleviate tension: HMW separate the kids from fellow passengers?

Explore the opposite: HMW make the wait the most exciting part of the trip?

Question an assumption: HMW remove wait time altogether?

Create an analogy from need to context: HMW make the airport like a spa? Like a playground?

Change a status quo: HMW make playful, loud kids less annoying?


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