When people within companies try to innovate, they often talk about the challenges they’re facing by using language that can inhibit creativity instead of encouraging it.
Min Basadur who is a business consultant, has been teaching the (HMW) form of questioning for years.
How might we?
Basadur explained that people may start out asking, How can we do this? or How should we do that? But as soon as you start using words like can and should, you’re implying judgement: Can we really do it? And should we? By substituting the word might, he says, ” You’re able to defer judgement, which helps people to create options more freely and opens up more possibilities.
Within the phrase, “How Might We” each of those words play a role in spurring creative problem solving.
- HOW | this part of the phrase assumes there are solutions out there; it provides creative confidence.
- MIGHT | says we can put ideas out there that might work or might not, either way, it’s okay
- WE | this part says we’re going to do it together and build on each other ideas
How Might We form of questioning can be applied to almost any challenge, though it works best with ones that are ambitious yet also achievable. HMW can be applied to broad questions such as how might we solve world hunger, and narrow questions such as how might we increase profits by 5 percent next quarter.