Why How "Might We...?" is in our DNA.
Explaining why "How Might We...?" is in our DNA and how it unlocks group creativity to find innovative solutions
It may seem strange that we start most of our questions with How Might We… However, the language you use guides the mind. So, if you want the mind to go into a creative space, how you frame the opening is crucial. Therefore the choice of How Might We is very deliberate, and in this blog I will explain our reasoning for the use of this framing.
As leaders, you face problems on a nearly daily basis, by framing these as How Might We questions, you are setting yourself, and your team up to find innovative solutions. How you choose to frame the problem or opportunity will have a significant impact on the solutions that may arise. How might we questions provide the guidance to innovate, without suggesting a direction.
With this in mind, why is ‘How Might We…’ framing so powerful? Well, let’s break the statement down and explore the three words independently.
This suggests that there is an answer, there is a way of solving the challenge. It suggests to our mind that this challenge can be solved. It encourages curiosity to what can be done. How also helps remove thinking from existing paradigms and constructs. It doesn’t just give permission to think differently, it demands it, quite a bossy little word then!
This suggests that there is more than one solution to the challenge. How encourages us to think differently, how encourages us to not to stop at the first solution we come up with. It provides space for multiple ideas to come to the surface, and encourages left field ideas. Might encourages exploration of possibilities and, again moving from normal constraints and paradigms.
This suggests that the answer lies within us. This encourages participation from all of the team in the process. It provides permission for everyone to have an equal voice, it discourages dominance and expectation that the leader has all of the answers. It helps democratise the creativity process. It demonstrates that the intelligence and creativity of the group is greater than one person.
In combination these words encourage the group to think differently and to accept that there may be more than one solution. This helps move thinking to one of possibilities, rather than one of looking for the one solution. With the whole group involved there is an acceptance of different ideas, perceptions and thinking. This aids in opening our minds to acceptance of others, which creates a safer and more inclusive environment.
Now it is time to start asking your team How Might We…