Recently I tried something new with my team in our design thinking sessions. As anyone who depends on design thinking in their creative process knows, we rely on the statement “How might we…” or something similar. While that statement is very powerful to get creatives thinking I found if we change that statement slightly we get much different results. We have been working on a blue sky concept and I noticed we were not getting far enough out of the box. I decided to change the “How might we…” statement to “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”. I was surprised at how a small adjustment like this would change how the room was thinking.

“How might we…” implies that we are trying to solve for a problem. When we used this statement we ended up with more fixes and enhancement type ideas. When we shifted to the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” statement the room tended to feed of each other’s ideas more. It spread more like wildfire and moved moved in many directions much quicker.

I did notice that when we used the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” statement that we glanced over concepts quicker and did not give them the depth of thought they deserve. The main reason for that is because we moved on to many new ideas quickly.

I can see how depending on your design thinking session where either one would be more beneficial. Both statements have earned its place in our creative process. When we need a good solution to a problem we use “How might we…”. When we need to think blue sky we start out with “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”. Give it a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed.